Definitive Guide to Write a Winning Cover Letter

The cover letter is your first dice to impress the hiring manager and as a bonus, these cursory letters can cover sensitive topics that cannot be included in an official resume!  The ultimate guide for writing a winning cover letter that gets your profile noticed by the recruiter is by following our instruction guidance based on most popular cover letters of 2017.

Types of Cover Letters

A cover letter is a two-page document sent by the candidate as a prologue to the resume whenever applying for a job or following up for the same. Hiring managers inspect cover letter thoroughly, prior to the resume, as cover letters often contain sensitive information that cannot be included in a resume.

The first step to write a cover letter for job application is by choosing a format of cover letter that fits your profile. Depending on your job application, a cover letter can be sent to recruiters as well as acquaintances, when seeking job search assistance.

1.      Resume Covering Letter

Uploaded or sent with the original resume by the candidate while applying for a job, resume cover letters are the standard type of cover letters. These letters describe why the candidate is interested in the organization, simultaneously listing the reasons that qualify the candidate for the position.

2.      Job Application Letter

Sent by the candidate alongside the resume when applying for a qualifying position, a job application letter lists the best skills, experiences, and achievements of the candidate. A job application letter is a persuasive letter that vouches why the candidate must be selected for an interview.

If your hiring manager has attached a list of extra questions with the job description, you must complete and include the same in your job application cover letter.

3.      Email Covering Letter

When a candidate sends a resume directly to the recruiter, it is effective to send a formal cover letter that introduces the profile. Email cover letters are sent based on the recruiter’s instructions, including answers to questions sought by the recruiter. Candidates must not include emoticons or pictures when sending an Email Cover Letter for job application.

4.      Referral Cover Letter

A recommendation letter is heftier than an ordinary cover letter. Drafting a referral letter requires many formalities. You must mention the name of the referrer as well as your relationship with them to be clear in this section. Hiring managers often take a closer look at resumes that are referred by credible people. Referrals must be enclosed within a cover letter as it gives a preface on how well you are acquainted with the processes of the organization you’re applying to join.

5.      Inquiry Job Letter

Sent by the candidate to companies with open positions or those hiring at the moment, inquiry job letters fare better with exclusive job openings. Inquiry job letters must specify how the job role is a fit for you as well as why you’re interested in working with the company. Candidates must include contact information and method of follow up, in the inquiry cover letter.

6.      Networking Cover Letter

Often used by job hunters to find better advice for finding relevant jobs, networking job letters seek assistance from friends and acquaintances for finding a credible job. From introductions to your credits, skills and expertise, networking cover letter for job also includes referrals to hangout requests to discuss your interests. Networking cover letter is used to introduce the resume via LinkedIn, Email or Social Media to the recruiter.

7.      Prospecting Letter

Commonly known as the letter of interest, the prospecting letter is sent by candidates who aspire to work in a company that has no open vacancies. If you are interested in joining a without jobs at present, a prospecting cover letter that includes your superlative expertise alongside the resume will work wonders when the employer opens vacancies next!

The aim of a Resume Cover Letter

A cover letter for CV is akin to a classy jacket that introduces the vital documents including your resume or official certificates, portfolio or references regarding the job. Your cover letter is not a data-hogging document, but one that will be read thoroughly to review your job application.

Introduce yourself

Placed at the beginning of the resume, you must provide a professional brief of your contact, name and designation with the aim of easing future reference of the recruiter.

Prove why you’re a good fit

The cover letter to the resume must brief your technical expertise for the job with technically relevant terminologies. In short, the cover letter must prove your superlative professional worth when your profile is compared by the recruiter with other candidates.

Add your interest in the organization

A pivotal point that proves your professional interest and passion towards the work of the employer, you must be prepared to elaborate your unique interest in the organization. One or two lines referring to your career graph that refers to the line of employer’s work will do wonders!

Things your resume cannot include

Many topics are difficult or impossible to furnish in a professional resume. From career changes to relocation interests, criminal history, freelancing or termination history at previous jobs, you must diplomatically use a cover letter template to state your red flags in job history, if any.

How to Write a Cover Letter

A cover letter is a must-send for every job application today. Spanning from salutations to cover letter format and acquaintance with computer skills, there are many evident soft skills to include in a cover letter. In order to impress the reader, you must assess sample cover letters that pertain to your employment sector.  As an ideal cover letter decides whether the hiring manager will even see your resume, you must practice hard to make your cover letter enticing and uniquely relevant to the job.

Parts of a Resume Cover Letter

The anatomy of a resume cover letter is built based on popular trends on winning resumes from diverse jobs available today. If your aim is to uplift the professional worth of your resume, sending a formalized cover letter is mandatory-

1.      Contact Info

The opening section of your Cover Letter must include Name and Contact Information of the Candidate. It is recommended to place complete Mailing Address in addition to a personal telephone line and email address for ease of contact by the recruiter in the future. The example below shows one way to furnish your personal information in a cover letter, but you must choose one that fits your profile the best.

Example

D’Angelo Smith
173, Quoration Street
Qasque, Florida
012-222-3984
d.angelo.smith@gmail.com

2.      Introduction

Another rising trend is addressing the Hiring Manager, Recruiter by, “Whomsoever, it may concern”, or “Hey Sir”, which being archaic, increases your chance of being rejected. When addressing your hiring manager, it is best to review the job description for roles or even, step a mile ahead by reviewing the company official website and asking for the hiring manager’s name. Experts recommend that even if you get the name wrong, it will make your effort obvious.

The opening paragraph of cover letter for a job must list your designation you are applying for, alongside how you learned about the hiring vacancy, in brief.  You must customize the opening paragraph to include technical terminology from the job description. The remnant paragraph must elaborate on how your career graph contours to the responsibilities sought by the employer.

Example

Dear Mr. Wilson,

I am Michelle Thomas, Senior Ophthalmologist, writing to inquire if you have open positions for the post of Chief Ophthalmologist as my resume proves my superlative experience that fits your credibility.

 

3.      Your Relevancy to the Job

The second paragraph must furnish your academic excellence, passion and technical expertise for the job role offered by the recruiter.  Next paragraph in the cover letter for job application must list your specific and exceptional skills or achievements that glue the hiring manager to review your resume.

Explain how your professional expertise can add to the company’s profits. An optional paragraph can be used to reflect how well you understand the company goals with shards of technical terminology from the official mission.

4.      Call To Action

An important closing paragraph that decides whether the hiring manager comes back to your resume with an interview card, the CTA must entail mode of interview preferred by the candidates. As a bonus, include your availability by suggesting a call or meeting.

If you assess latest cover letter samples, the clause, “I will write back within 24 hours of receiving any response from your end”, is widely listed to prove dedication towards the job application in a cover letter.

5.      Signature

Often mistaken with informal salutations, such as “Yours Lovingly” or “Regards”, signature in an official cover letter must always be toned formally. Professional phrases such as, “Sincerely”, “Thank You for your consideration” or “Truly”, works efficiently on any cover letter.

Follow your closing salutation of the cover letter for CV by mentioning your name with Capitalization as well as profile URL, professional email address or phone number with electronic signature or initials.

What to Include in a Cover Letter

In addition to your contact information and general salutation, everything professional and technical goes into the cover letter by email, in a briefer format. Maintain an assertive tone in your cover letter. You must include the best skills and achievements, both professional and personal to catch the eyes of the reader.

A cover letter is best divided into three to four paragraphs that list your technical expertise as sought by the hiring manager. The first paragraph must include general introductions on your superlative experiences that make you perfect for the job as well as your interest in working with the recruiter. The second paragraph must list your technical skills and job history that prove your candidacy. The third and fourth paragraph in cover letter content must expand your superior skills, interest or dedication that cannot be listed on a resume.

Spanning from your interest in the company as well as your experience in the line of work that the employer offers, your motive is to establish your strong candidacy for the job offered.  Elaborating on the specific expertise that makes you an asset to the company is a bonus in the resume cover letter design.

What to avoid in a Cover Letter

The personalized tone is the first thing to avoid in an official cover letter. You must use a formal and respectable tone to introduce yourself as well as your professional traits. It is smart to add personality to your professional cover letter, but you must strictly avoid being too personal or annoying.

You must never include lengthy paragraphs, wrong details, false statements, salary expectations, overexcitement, emoticons and irrelevant anecdotes in a resume cover letter. Always proofread your cover letter as errors are a proof of your carelessness or lack of dedication towards the job as a candidate.

Tips for Styling your Resume Cover Letter

Different cover letter formats are used to furnish different types of information based on your skills and requirements. If you’re ready to draft a winning cover letter on your own, it is wise to scan through the most common mistakes at first.

1. The tone of the Cover Letter

A pivotal parameter often ignored by amateur job seekers, the tone of your cover letter must always be formalized depending on the job you’re applying to. Some important tones to use in a cover letter are as listed below-

Confident Tone

Also termed the authoritative tone in a cover letter for job, the confident tone is reflected by referring to your precise planning and project implementation history from past jobs. Avoid being personal or too enthusiastic about the application to position you as an expert for the job offered.

 Senior or Executive Tone

For professionals with seniority and executive job history, authority comes as second nature. Your motive is to prove your expertise by referring to executive jobs and responsibilities of your best past jobs. You must show your interest in the company as well as the skills you offer, in a diplomatic language.

Energetic Tone 

If you’re a graduate or a fan of the business you’re applying to, it is considered a bonus to elaborate how enthusiastic you are about working the said firm. However, you must customize your cover letter to prevent sounding desperate.

Traditional Tone

If you analyze and research with popular resume cover letters, you will come across cliché sentences that can apply to your job application as well. If you have no resort to draft a cover letter, it is best to use sample cover letter to draft your own profile.

2. Font choice and Font Size

If you’re not a designer or artist, it is best to stick to classic fonts that make reading easy than impressing the hiring manager. Best fonts such as Garamond, Calibri and Tahoma are considered good fonts for cover letters while Comic Sans, Algerian and Impact are the worst fonts to use in an official job application letter.

Recommended font size in the job letter is 12 pts as anything below this level can strain the eyes of the reader.

3. Use Impactful Skills in the Cover Letter

Most job application letters request candidates to fill in best positive traits or soft skills alongside the resume. To quickly furnish relevant power verbs that describe your technical proficiency for the job, you must go through several sample cover letters.

Positive traits to use in a cover letter
  1. Proactive
  2. Enthusiastic
  3. Detail-Oriented
  4. Committed
  5. Adaptive
  6. Focused
  7. Deadline-Driven
  8. Experienced
  9. Accomplished
  10. Versatile
Soft Skills to include in cover letters-
  1. Multitasking
  2. Creative
  3. Teamwork
  4. Research
  5. Communication
  6. Organized
  7. Analytical
  8. Cooperative
  9. Rational
  10. Problem-Solving

4. Spacing, Alignment and Margin

Resume writing experts and coaches advocate keeping your resume cover letter alignment and margin to 1” or 1.5” as it fits more content in one page without congesting the reading ability. It is wise to stick to one format of alignment throughout the cover letter, preferably, left-sided.

5. Proofread your Cover Letter

Yet another important thing to check in your cover letter is the accuracy of your content. Ask a friend or acquaintance to go through your cover letter to check typos, grammatical errors and spelling mistakes. Errors in a cover letter are a sign of the lack of professionalism.

Formatting Cover Letter for Applicant Tracking Systems

More than 70% employers today use automatic tracking software such as Applicant Tracking System or ATS to review the relevancy of hundreds and thousands of candidates applying for employment. ATS analyzes resumes and cover letter content to optimize or shortlist candidates with relevant keywords and experience as sought by the employer, quickly.

In order to pass the ATS compliance, candidates must use at least 50% of keywords about the technical responsibilities directly from the job description. It is wrong to use 95% keywords in the cover letter as it leads to penalizing by ATS software.

Troubleshooting Red Flags in a Cover Letter

Experiences, incidents and gap years that are impossible to elaborate on a resume can be briefed with the help of cover letter examples.  Here we describe the most sensitive topics that must be included or omitted from cover letters.

1. Gap Years

If you have huge gap years in your employment history, it is best to elaborate your reasons and goals to join the workforce back, in brief. If you worked during the time, mention positive traits acquired at the workspace to establish your skills.

For example, if the gap year in your resume owes it to maternity leaves, elaborate the same alongside familial values you’ve gained during the time.

2. Termination History

If a past embarrassing termination is making you anxious, it is best to avoid it in the resume or cover letter for job. Resume writing coaches advice candidates must instead prepare arguments and reasons of termination for the personal interview.

It is universal that honesty is the best policy; however, in the case of resume writing and diplomacy, it is best to delay certain information to receive a fair chance at a job application. If you were terminated from the previous job, prepare your interview round properly, than anticipating messing chance to be interviewed.

3. Medical Problems or Disability

Millions around the world suffer from medical ailments or disabilities. Hence, it is natural to wonder about ways to refer the same in your job application. Medical issues and disabilities are not red flags to your hiring process. In fact, it is against human rights to describe so and we advice that you support the same as we do.

Listing your medical disability might reject your fair chance and thus it is advised that you explain the same during an interview than in a covering letter. However, if you must mention your needs or conditions regarding the job, it is best to go with your conviction.

4. Self-Employment History

Referring to self-employment history is a pride for many but you must explain why the career switches to influence the recruiter positively. Mention superlative skills and experiences or bonus techniques acquired during the time to highlight your assets to the position offered.

5.      Relocation Interests

If you need to shift from your current address to comply with the job application, there is no problem mentioning the same, unless you are not willing to move. Candidates must not sound desperate or too excited in the cover letter for job application.

Your motive is to give the hiring manager a chance to surpass the disparities in location-change, with your professional worth.

6. Career Change

If you took significant leaps to change careers or education in the past, you must address it in the cover letter in a positive format. Describe your qualifications for the job besides explaining your reasons for career changes in a cover letter. Candidates can also include transferable skills from the prior career to add it as a bonus skill to the profile.

7. Criminal History

A tough task to add in a resume, it is best that you mention your criminal history during the interview, akin to termination histories. Stigma is the hardest thing to break and if you don’t want to lose your fair chance to a job, it is best that you omit this section until the interview round.

Conclusion

If you believe that nobody reads cover letters or that it must be written in haste, you need to start from the ABC of cover letters. To draft a flawless and captivating cover letter, you need practice and guidance from expert resume writers.

Use our systematic guide to write a winning cover letter that impresses the hiring manager and outwits the other candidates!