Writing a cover letter that will last: Tips from top recruiters

ByAnastasia Bahu

Writing a cover letter that will last: Tips from top recruiters

In one of our previous articles on why cover letters are important, we highlighted the reasons for preparing and sending this together with your resume. Now it’s time for the next chapter on this important topic: crafting the cover letter itself. We will share with you a handful of details on the best structure, the most valuable information to include, and how to present yourself in the most compelling way.

What is a cover letter?

A cover letter should be no longer than a half-page document that is sent with your detailed resume during the application process. It is addressed to the hiring party and confirms your interest in the role, your understanding of it, and how your qualifications meet the selection criteria. A well-tailored cover letter will help you to stand out from the crowd in the evaluator’s eye, and ultimately you may be selected for a given role from the entire pool of candidates!

💡 Quick fact: What’s the difference between a cover letter and a motivation letter?
You might ask whether a cover letter is the same as a motivation letter. While a cover letter is regularly requested when applying for a role in a company or project, the latter is usually used when applying for acceptance at a university or to a student programme, or for voluntary work in a non-profit entity.  There is also a difference in focus. A cover letter provides examples of how your previous professional experience and qualifications match the opening. On the other hand, a motivation letter showcases your personality, interests, and motives for applying.

The best structure for a cover letter

A strong cover letter should be no longer than half a page containing personal details at the top, such as name, address, and contact details (e-mail, and phone number). We recommend starting the letter with an engaging paragraph and reserving the final paragraph to share your expectations of a positive outcome as a conclusion. The paragraphs in the middle, usually two or three, should be used to illustrate your key achievements and experience relevant to the areas of the targeted job that you prefer to detail – education, professional experience, and managerial and soft skills.

How to write a cover letter – steps to follow

  • Address the hiring party in the appropriate way – if the name of the person responsible for recruitment is not mentioned in the advert, feel free to use one of the standardized salutations such as “Dear Hiring Manager”, “Dear Sir or Madam”, or “To Whom It May Concern”.
  • Specify the position – you should mention the role that you are applying for between the salutation and the first paragraph.
  • State why you want to join the company – this is the perfect moment to share in what way this position aligns with your professional aspirations!
  • Tailor the document to the role description – you can use some job-specific keywords for this. Nonetheless, do not do this as well as rewriting your resume as this might be very time-consuming!

According to research by ResumeGo, 81% of hiring managers give preference to a tailored Cover Letter instead of a generic one.

  • Tailor the content wisely – try to avoid using exactly the same wording as was used in the advert but be as close as possible to show that you’re a good fit.
  • Spotlight your achievements – make sure you list any great results or quantifiable achievements whenever possible, especially if they are relevant to the domain of activity of the company.
  • Professional formatting – you might like to consider size 11-12 of a classic font such as Arial, Calibri or Times New Roman and a justified text setting.
  • Polite and motivational close – show your openness for the provision of any additional detail, and emphasize your keenness for a future interview.
  • Proofread the document before sending it – even the most brilliant application risks being rejected if there are grammatical errors!

A well-drafted cover letter gives you the chance to communicate to the reader that you embody the key traits sought for the role and this is the reason why it is indeed crucial to make an effort when crafting your own.

If you face a lack of time or would like to delegate this task to professionals, get in touch with a Career Advisor at DevelopmentAid Recruitment Solutions.

You will work one-on-one with a professional who will customize your CV, cover letter, LinkedIn profile, and more so you get closer to your dream job.