Cover letter is still relevant in 2020 in job applications. It can create a great first impression if you make it right. There are things you should consider when you write your cover letter. With this article you can learn how to write perfect cover and what to include in cover letter that suits for 2020 job applications.
What is a cover letter
A cover letter, also known as a covering letter, is a single-page document that introduces a applicant’s work history, professional skills, and personal interest for particular job.
You might think, cover letters are old fashioned in 2020, but they are still necessary. The point of your cover letter is to expand upon the achievements (most important) in your resume, showcase your personality (your human side), and explain why you’d be a good fit for the company. Overall, your cover letter (paired with your resume) helps managers and recruiters screen your job application.
What to include in your cover letter
There are 3 fundamental sections to be include in cover letter. Which are
Introduction: Impressive opening that can kick start the reader’s mind, grab the attention and explain why you want the job.
Body paragraphs: At least two paragraphs detailing your relevant education, skills, work experience, and suitability for the job. Also your key achievements over the past years would be excellent fit.
Conclusion: A concise ending that reiterates your strengths, and asks the hiring manager to contact you (known as a call to action).
This cover letter writing guide will teach you how to write each of those sections step-by-step, with examples showing exactly what to say.
If you’re pressed for time, we can help you to finish the writing process in less than 2 days. By the end of this guide, you’ll have a knowledge to finish perfectly formatted and persuasive cover letter that will look like this:
How to perfect your cover letter?
Step 1: Put your contact details (and the employer’s) in the header
At the beginning of your cover letter, you should have:
- Your first and last name
- Your professional email address (not like firstname.lastname@example.org)
- Your phone number
- Your mailing address (Optional)
- Your Linkedin profile link (Optional)
Under your contact details, you should type:
- Today’s date
- The first and last name of the person you’re writing to, or the relevant department
- The company’s address
- The company’s phone number
- The hiring manager or company’s email address
Here’s an example perfect cover letter
Step 2: Address the hiring manager by their name
Make a great first impression by addressing your cover letter to a real person using their name. Finding the HR person’s name will be a challenging task, but if you give a try you can easily find it. You can check company’s website, searching Linkedin, or even calling or emailing HR division to ask. Even though it’s bit hard, at the end it’s well worth it. Also Robotic and impersonal greetings like “To Whom It May Concern” or “Dear Sir or Madam” will come off as lazy and insincere.
If you’re still having problems addressing your cover letter, follow these tips:
If you’re not sure about the recruiter’s title (like Mr., Mrs., Ms., Dr., etc.,) you can drop it from your salutation. For instance, “Dear Mark Taylor” is acceptable.
If you can’t find out who the recruiter is, you can guess. For instance, if you’re applying for a marketing position, you can address the marketing director by name instead.
If you can’t find anyone’s name, you can address it to the department. For instance, “Dear Marketing Department” is acceptable.
Good examples of opening salutations if you can’t find out exact details.
Dear Mark Taylor/ Dear Ms. Sarha/ Dear HR Department/ Dear OzoGen Recruiter
Step 3: Get the attention of hiring manager with a strong introduction
Many job seekers do this in wrong way. They do not care about strong introduction and tend to use same boring old-fashioned openings. But if you really want to go for an interview, you should start your cover letter with strong introduction. It’s quite simple for successful cover letter introduction, must include the following:
Job position: The position you’re applying for
Company name: The name of the company you’re applying for
Intention to apply: An enthusiastic announcement that you’re applying for that position and how you can energize the company with your service.
So long as your cover letter’s opening lines have those ingredients, you’ll successfully hook the hiring manager into reading more. Here’s an example of an acceptable cover letter introduction:
Good opening line
I’m delighted to be applying for the open digital marketing associate position at DigiCam Consulting.
However, we recommend that you make your introduction even more attention-grabbing by adding some personality, passion, or a major career highlight. You shouldn’t be afraid to let some of your unique personality quirks shine through in your cover letter. But be sure to strike the right tone, and don’t be weird.
Here are some examples of unique (but optional) cover letter introduction strategies you can use:
Option 1: Express your love for the company
It’s been a lifelong dream of mine to become a web designer for Apple, which is why I’m so excited to apply for this open position.
Option 2: Highlight a past achievement
I’m a believer that small steps can accumulate a big difference, and I made my last manager a believer too when I saved the company $50,000 per year simply by analyzing and reviewing every line on a coding sheet. If COdeGen Designers is seeking an web designer who won’t skip over the small stuff, I believe I’m the perfect candidate for this job.
Option 3: Express passion for your work
I’m excited to be applying for the Java Developer position at CodeMax. I’m what people now call an Extremely coding person, which is why I’ve been so successful at coding and fixing bugs and interest to my last company’s mobile apps — and I’d love to do the same for your company.
Step 4: Show them you’re the perfect candidate for the job
Next, it’s time to show why you’re the right person to do the job. To write these paragraphs well, and market yourself as great candidate, remember three main points:
Be confident, but don’t brag: A strong cover letter conveys confidence. If you’re able to provide evidence for a claim (like that you’re the best candidate for the job), put that evidence in your cover letter. But don’t make false and useless claims about your abilities.
Be honest, and don’t embellish: Don’t lie or even stretch the truth about your experience, as getting caught could ruin your career. It’s not needed anyway — you’ll get a job with the experience you’ve got.
Don’t include useless information: Your cover letter should be tailored to the job and company you’re applying for. Your cover letter (and resume) should reply to the job posting, directly referencing the skills and qualifications outlined by the recruiter on the job posting.
Writing tips (if you have some work experience)
Hiring managers will scour your cover letter for hard evidence that you’re the perfect candidate you claim to be. Use your recent work history and achievements to prove (with numbers) that you have the skills to get the job done. You can include any of the following evidence in your cover letter:
Professional achievements: Did you exceed targets for production, sales, revenue, profit, customer satisfaction, or any other business objectives?
Professional praise: Have you received compliments from management or colleagues for your work?
Professional awards: Have you received awards for your work, like Employee of the Month?
In the following examples, we’ve color-coded the achievements, praise, and awards with underlining to show you how to include each:
Writing tips (if you don’t have much work experience)
If you’re just starting your career and have little or no work experience, writing an entry-level cover letter can seem difficult. Fortunately, employers seeking younger candidates expect them to be inexperienced. Hiring managers will assess your cover letter by looking for other qualities, such as:
Academic (and other) achievements: Do you have a degree (bachelor’s, master’s, or PhD?) Is your GPA above 3.0, and did you receive awards like cum laude, magna cum laude, summa cum laude? Did you get a scholarship? Did you complete a thesis?
Extracurricular activities: Have you done any part-time work, or been involved in volunteering, student government, clubs, athletics, theater, or other activities? Do you pursue hobbies and interests?
Self-motivation and goal setting: What are the short and long term goals you have, and how does the job you’re applying for fit in with them?
Remember that any of the information you include should be relevant to the job you’re applying for. For instance, your Java coding experience will have no relevance for an accounting job, unless you were the web designer for accounting company.
Step 5: Close your cover letter with a request to interview
When writing your cover letter closing, be polite, confident, and continue to sell yourself as a very capable candidate. It’s important to write your final paragraph as thoughtfully and strategically as the rest of your cover letter, so be sure to include the following:
- Thank the hiring manager for reviewing your resume and cover letter
- Concisely summarize why you’d be a good hire
- Reiterate your excitement about the opportunity
- Politely ask them to send you an invitation to interview
Step 6: Sign off with a professional closing salutation
Sign off your cover letter with a professional closing salutation:
Use these Professional Cover Letter Sign Offs
Sincerely, Best, Regards, Thank you, Respectfully, Kind regards, Best regards
Finally, make two spaces between the salutation, and type your full name. For some professional (but optional) flair, scan your written signature into your cover letter under your typed name.
Step 7: Review your cover letter
Now, it’s time to make sure what you’ve written follows cover letter writing best practices. Ask yourself the following questions:
Did I use correct cover letter formatting?
A professional cover letter format has 200-350 words arranged in single space on a single A4 page. The font type should match any of these recommended fonts for your cover letter, and the font size should be no smaller than size 12. The cover letter’s margins should be 1” – 1.5” on each side to make sure that it looks readable and professional.
Did I write in a personable, and not overly-formal tone?
A classic cover letter writing mistake is assuming that lengthy sentences with overly-formal wording makes you sound “professional.” In reality, it makes your cover letter feel stiff and hard to read.
To instantly improve your cover letter’s tone, try the following:
- Use contractions, like “don’t” instead of “do not”
- Avoid buzz words and phrases, like “dynamic,” “thinking outside the box,” and “synergy”
- Choose simpler forms of words, like “helpful” instead of “advantageous”
Did I remove unprofessional and unneeded information?
The following information makes your cover letter unprofessional, and may even invite discrimination from your potential employer. Delete any of the following:
- Personal information, such as family, religion, sex, or gender
- Salary information, such as former salary, or future salary expectations
- Questions and inquiries, such as ones about company benefits or job expectations. If you need to know, ask in an email outside of your application, or during the interview process.
Did I proofread my cover letter?
You might be sick and tired of cover letter writing after reviewing over each word and sentence, but you have to proofread it anyway.
Don’t just run a spell check and scan the page for typos, as you’re likely to miss mistakes due to your over-familiarity with the letter. Here are two quick tips professional editors use to combat over-familiarity and make good edits:
Read it out loud: Doing this will force you to go over every word and punctuation, and also make it obvious when you’ve written a complicated sentence that’s hard to read.
Put it in a different font: A new font forces your brain to grapple with something that looks new, and will help you notice mistakes you’d otherwise skim over and miss.
After you’re done proofreading your cover letter, have someone else double-check it any further mistakes. They can provide quick feedback about whether your letter is clear and well-argued. They’ll also notice small grammar and spelling errors you’ve missed.
Wish you all the best with your cover letter writing