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Key Elements for Writing a Perfect Cover Letter

Published on Tuesday, 28 Nov 2017

Writing a cover letter during a job hunt can be one of the most daunting, stress-filled experiences of a professional’s career. A cover letter is the gateway to a promising new career and finding the right words to use in order to introduce yourself positively and effectively is no easy task. While each cover letter should be unique and individualised to appeal to a specific role and company, there are certain key elements in every successful cover letter samples and templates. Be sure to include these crucial components to your next cover letters if you want to get your foot in the interviewer’s door.  

A proper salutation. Do everything in your power to find out to whom you are writing your cover letter. This may seem like a small, insignificant act, but by addressing an actual person reading your cover letter, you’re instantly establishing a personal connection. Realistically, if someone is sifting through a pile of cover letters, the one with their name addressed on it is going to get noticed ahead of all the others with a generic “Dear Sir or Madam” greeting.  

Specify the exact job you’re seeking. Hiring managers and recruiters may be working on placing a number of potential employees in any number of roles for a multitude of companies. Don’t get lost in the mix by not stating what job it is that you’re applying for. Keep it short and simple by just stating the title as advertised, including the company’s name, and where you spotted the job posting: “I am applying for the open X position with Y Company posted on Z.”

Less is more. Empty white space is a welcome sight on cover letters. Remember, the point of your cover letter is to introduce and entice the hiring manager to bring you in for an in-person interview. If you attempt to broadcast everything in your cover letter, you risk getting skimmed over. What’s the point of someone calling you in for an interview when you’ve already detailed everything in a letter they most likely won’t even read in its entirety? For a successful cover letter, short, clear, and focussed statements are key. 

Choose your words wisely. You want to pepper in words of enthusiasm and knowledge whenever and wherever you can in your cover letter, but you don’t want to go overboard. Your cover letter should still flow and sound professional, but allow a few carefully curated words to convey your interest, scope of experience, and passion for the work to hook your interviewer. Remember to bring that spirit with you to the interview. 

What the company gains from hiring you. Often, job seekers focus too much on why they want the job and forget about why they should be the one hired. At the end of the day, a company’s main interest is to hire someone who will help them maximise their bottom line, increase production, or improve their market share. Appeal to that desire by detailing a few ways in which the company will benefit from hiring you specifically and not any of the other dozens of applicants. These could include your unique skills, experience, and learned knowledge.

Include your achievements. If there is something that you have achieved that aligns or positions you well in the role you are applying for, include your confirmed success stories. By alluding to a couple of your achievements in your cover letter, you prompt the reader to search through your resume for more details of your past accomplishments or bring you in for an interview to discover how your past experience can match the current needs of the company.  

Contact details. Don’t just assume that your contact details on your resume will suffice. It’s not uncommon for hiring managers to mix up papers or lose a sheet or two in the shuffle. Be sure to include your contact details on your cover letter just in case. The information can follow your closing statement and signature.  

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