Want to include a Cover Letter on that job application?
Here's a step-by-step guide of how to complete a cover letter. Also, what it should and shouldn't entail.
A cover letter is a single page letter that should be attached to your job application (at most 2 pages). Thing is, you can always attach one, unless the job advertisement clearly says not to. It should be a single page letter that you include with your job application. Thing is, you can always include one, unless the job advertisement clearly says you shouldn't.
Always remember to keep it short because it should be a summary and not your autobiography.
1. Follow The Rules of Formal Business Letters:
Your cover letter should include:
- Your name
- Your phone number
- Your email address
- The date of the letter
- The name of the hiring manager and their title
- The name of the company you are applying to as well
2. Introduce yourself and the purpose of your letter. It can be as simple as:
Dear. Ms. Amaka,
I am writing to apply for the position of Twitter Manager for XYZ as advertised on your LinkedIn page. I have X years of experience and believe my skills & experience are a good fit.
3. Review the Job Responsibilities & Qualification:
Truth is, most important requirements for a job opening are usually listed in the job description, or highlighted more than once.
What you do here is align your skills, competencies & qualification with the responsibilities.
As a data analyst with 3+ years of experience, I am excited by the idea of working at XYZ as a Senior Data Analyst. In my previous roles, I have displayed exceptional computing & mathematics skills as I am fluent in a number of data management systems & software.
Ensure you list as many skills and references as pertaining to the job as possible.
If you do not know how to structure them into a sentence, a short bullet list is fine. But make sure what you have listed corresponds to 90% of the job responsibilities.
4. Sell yourself:
You have to let them know why you are right for the job.
Don't make the mistake of mentioning your skills and competencies without indicating why you are the best fit for the job.
- My ability to get along as well as my profound experience in solving complex problems will make me ideally suited for this job.
- I am passionate about XYZ mission and would love to bring my XYZ skills (list the skills) to this role.
In addition to this, you can list your achievements as they relate to the job.
- Increased company sale by 120% which amounts to $900M in Q2
- Trained 25 employees in my role on new company models
Ensure they align with the job opening and let it be short.
5. Conclude your letter and ask them to contact you:
The conclusion can be as simple as:
If you are searching for a competent project manager who has the drive to meet company goals effectively, we should speak. You may contact me at +1 (222) 555-9987 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Here's a Recap:
- Heading (Address and Who you are addressing to)
- Opening Paragraph (Who you are)
- 2nd Paragraph (Your skills and Qua.)
- 3rd Paragraph (Sell yourself and why you are fit)
- Closing Paragraph (Ask them to contact you)
- Indicate any attachment.
What you shouldn't have on a cover letter:
1. Spelling / Grammar Errors
2. Info Not Related to the Job
3. Negative Comments about your past/ current employer
4. Very long paragraphs
5. Wrong Name of the Contact Person
6. Qualifications You Don’t Have
7. Personal information
In many cases, your cover letter can actually make the difference between getting selected for an interview or not. Hence, it is a good opportunity and avenue to sell your skills, competencies and qualifications to the hiring manager. If you are unable to draft a cover letter using this step-by-step guide, then you can use one of these online cover letter creators. Please note some of them aren't free.
You can Google:
- Smart Cover Letter
- Live Career
Things to leave out of your resume:
- Long paragraphs without bullets: You know a resume isn't a cover letter. Make it precise and brief. No one is interested in your stories.
- Starting phrases with I: Start with skill, action, accomplishment words and not with 'I'.
- Why you left your previous employers: This is a total no-no.
- Misspellings or grammatical errors
- Irrelevant experiences
- Weak assertions about academic achievements
- Inappropriate Email Address
- Personal Beliefs.
- Date of Birth, Religion, Sex, Local Government, State of Origin Should not be on your resume.Throw them all out.
All the best.