When Do You Include a Cover Letter In Your Job Application

There are a lot of ways to catch your employer’s attention and place yourself in high value for a job application. 

Most people talk only about resume or CV but I feel a cover letter really increases your chances of getting that job you’re seeking for if it’s well constructed. 

Writing a cover letter can be a bit tricky most times so if you’re reading this and you want to know how to write a very attractive cover letter then don’t skip a line from this article.

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About Cover Letters

A cover letter is a brief but very informative letter that highlights the key points in your experience and skill set that guarantees that  you’re a perfect candidate for the job.

Unlike CV, the cover letter is more letter-like and gives you an opportunity to deep dive into concrete examples of your expertise.

The general layout of a cover letter usually have features like;

  • Cover letter heading
  • Cover letter salutation
  • Cover letter introduction
  • Body of letter(underlines your experience and expertise) 
  • Third paragraph that proves you’re a great fit to the company and role
  • Cover letter ending with a call to action
  • Professional sign-off

Are Cover Letters Necessary?

Yes, they are. A well constructed cover letter will enhance your CV better and give you an advantage over other candidates, thereby increasing your chances of getting the job.

Did you know that submitting a cover letter is a great way to attract the attention of hiring managers? Yes, it actually helps you stand out because a great cover letter shows that you have solid communication skills and can expand on the key skills listed in your resume. 

Be sure to make it align with the industry to which you’re applying and it’s good you show initiative and enthusiasm for the role without being too needy for the job. 

Note: remember that your cover letter is a companion to your resume, so make sure to use the same font, header styles, colors, and template heading, if possible.

CV vs Cover Letter(differences)

Generally, the focus of a CV is to showcase your Academic values  while a cover letter goes right for the feels and expresses much more.

CV vs Cover Letter(Similarities)

The CV is usually king when it comes to applications but a cover letter is also as important and highly recommended.

Both the CV and cover letter speak of proof and authenticity to your skills, career experience and professionalism. See it this way, the CV lists all the useful information and the cover letter describes them in action through compelling examples.

Steps To Writing A Perfect Cover letter

1.Include both your contact details and that of your employer. Underneath your name in your cover letter header, list the following contact details:

  • First and last name
  • Email address (something professional, usually including your name)
  • Phone number
  • Mailing address (optional)
  • Linkedin profile link (optional)
  • Portfolio or website (optional)
  • After your header, include the date and following company contact information:
  • First and last name of the person you’re writing to, or the relevant department
  • Company address
  • Company phone number
  • Hiring manager’s email address

2.Address your cover letter to the hiring manager by name if possible. A standard cover letter salutation includes the hiring manager’s first and last name, and begins with a “Mr.”, “Ms.”, or another relevant professional title.

If you don’t know the hiring manager’s name , don’t worry, you can easily find out who to address your cover letter to using the following steps

Ways to find the hiring manager’s name

Go search the company on LinkedIn and click on “people”. Explore the company’s website (specifically their “About Us” or “Team” page)

As a last resort, contact their human resources department and ask them for their hiring manager’s name. However, if you absolutely can’t find the hiring manager’s name, using a generic greeting like “Dear Hiring Manager” or “Dear Sir or Madam” is considered acceptable by most HR professionals.

Here are some examples of an acceptable cover letter greetings:

  • Dear Jane Smith
  • Dear Ms. Smith
  • Dear Accounting Department
  • Dear [Company Name] Recruiter

3. Write an attention-grabbing opening paragraph. Start your cover letter with an informative, direct introduction by including the following details in the first one or two sentences:

  • Job position: The title of position advertised
  • Company name: The name of the company you’re applying to.
  • How you got to know about the job: Whether you saw the job via ads, LinkedIn etc.
  • Intention to apply: state the reason for your application
  • Notable accomplishments: If you have relevant work experience, highlight one or two of your most notable achievements in your introduction to immediately grab the employer’s attention

An example of how to write the introduction part of your cover letter

You can also make your introduction even more attention-grabbing by expressing a bit of personality, passion, or by including a major career highlight. Don’t be afraid to let some of who you are as a person shine through in your cover letter.

Note: be sure to strike the right tone for your industry or field. For instance, if you’re applying for a job in law or finance, keep your writing as formal as possible.

If you received a referral to the job by a current employee, your cover letter introduction is also the ideal place to mention their name and your connection to them. This is a great way to quickly win over any hiring manager.

4. Explain why you’re qualified for the job

Your second and third paragraphs should make a convincing argument showing that you’re the right person for the job and why you should get the job by discussing your relevant work experience, skills, and achievements.

Things to include in your cover letter that will highlight your value to an employer:

  • Professional achievements: Did you exceed targets for production, sales, revenue, profit, customer satisfaction, or any other business objectives? Then you should state it in your letter it’ll give you a better chance of getting the job
  • Professional praise/awards: Have you received compliments from management or colleagues for your work or a particular award of excellence? Then state it in your cover letter, most employers are really impressed by all of this.

How to Write The Body Paragraphs Of Your Cover Letter

If you lack professional work experience and are writing a cover letter, you should highlight details like your academic achievements, extracurricular activities, or volunteer work instead.

5. Relate your past experience and skills to the company’s needs. Begin to close out your cover letter by restating your interest in the job and explaining how your experience fits into the needs of the company.

For example, if you’re applying to work at a company that’s seeking to break into a new market that you have experience in, you should highlight this experience in your writing.

If you’re not sure what the goals or needs of the company are, find out by doing some general research online. Take note of what products or services they offer, what their work culture is like, or if they have any future goals.

6. Finish with a concise closing paragraph

When writing your cover letter closing, be polite, confident, and continue to market yourself as the best candidate for the job. Just Try to

  • Restate your excitement about the job opportunity
  • Politely ask the reader to send you an invitation to interview
  • Thank the hiring manager for reviewing your application

Note: wrap up your cover letter with a professional closing salutation such as; sincerely, best regards, thank you, kind regards etc.

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