Resumes & Cover Letters

How to Write a Cover Letter

August 25, 2020

A well-written cover letter links your CV to the role you are applying for and convinces the hiring manager that you are the best candidate for the job. It should show how you can add value to the company. In this article, we discuss what a cover letter is and how to write one correctly.

What is a cover letter?

A cover letter is a formal letter you send with your CV to apply for jobs. It can appear on the first page of your job application or as an accompanying document to your CV. The purpose of a cover letter is to give the hiring manager a preview into what your CV contains and offer information that is not on your CV.

Hiring managers usually use the cover letter as a way to screen candidates for available jobs. If a company requires a cover letter, it will be mentioned in the job posting. If one isn't required, you may still want to include it to increase your chances of getting hired for the job.

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How to create a cover letter

Use these steps to write a convincing cover letter:

  1. Include your and the recipient's contact information
  2. Include a salutation
  3. Include an opening paragraph about your intention to apply
  4. Write a body paragraph about your background information
  5. Include a closing paragraph that expresses your gratitude to the hiring manager
  6. Write a complimentary closing and affix your signature

1. Include your and the recipient's contact information

A cover letter always starts with both your and the recipient's contact information, followed by the date. Your contact information includes your first and last name, street address, phone number and email. Make sure the date is separated from your address and the recipient's address. If the recipient's name and information are not listed on the job posting, you can look for it on the company's website or Indeed company page.

For example:

Kevin Kho

222 Orchard St.

Yishun, Singapore 8119

555-888-5000

kkho@email.com

August 5, 2020

Li Nguyen

ABC Technologies

589 Vineyard Dr.

Bukit Batok, Singapore 5623

778-856-4125

lnguyen@email.com

If you're going to submit your cover letter via the body of an email instead of an attached document or physical one, indicate your contact information at the end of the letter, after your name.

2. Include a salutation

Begin your cover letter with a salutation like 'Ms./Mr./Dr. Last name' or 'Dear/Hello'. If you are not sure about the gender of the recipient, you can write their full name. If you can't find the name of your recipient, you can simply write 'Dear Hiring Manager'. You may also address the head of the department you are sending your application to.

3. Include an opening paragraph about your intention to apply

Begin your opening paragraph of the cover letter by stating what position you are applying for. Discuss where you found the job posting and highlight how your experience and skills match the company or the job. Because your objective is to get the attention of the hiring manager, make sure to include a statement that expresses your enthusiasm for the role or company. Here are some good examples of opening sentences for your cover letter:

'As an IT professional with several years of experience in the tech industry, I learned that the best way to become successful was to use the resources I had by employing an attitude of empowerment and well-defined objectives.'

'I am very interested in the entry-level position that is available at Baku Holdings, Inc. I recently graduated from Singa University and my courses in business, investments and finance have equipped me with a strong foundation upon which I plan to build my career.'

4. Include a body paragraph about your background information

The body or middle paragraph of a cover letter should be a brief overview of your background as it relates to the job you're applying for. It usually explains why you want the job and why you are the best candidate for it. State specific qualifications mentioned in the job description and discuss how you meet those qualifications. You may also include key specialties, skills and achievements that make you particularly suited to perform well in the position.

Look for keywords listed in the job posting and incorporate those that you identify with in the body of your cover letter. Make sure you only include information about your most recent professional experiences.

Here's an example of a cover letter's body paragraph:

'After reviewing the requirements, I believe I would be the best candidate for the management position. I have spent the past five years as an assistant manager of a small restaurant while completing my bachelor's degree. This job has allowed me to manage workers as well as work with the general public. Also, I have a background in interior design and recently graduated with a Bachelor of Fine Arts from Singa International College, with a minor in marketing and business.'

5. Include a closing paragraph that expresses your gratitude to the hiring manager

In your cover letter's closing paragraph, restate how your experience or skills make you the ideal candidate for the job or company. You may also briefly discuss why you would like to work for the company.

Inform them that you would appreciate the chance to discuss employment opportunities. Then, thank the hiring manager for their consideration.

For example:

'Thank you for spending the time to review my CV. I believe that my skills, education and past experiences would make me a valuable asset for the company. I am particularly excited about the new product launches and how I can contribute to that effort.'

6. Write a complimentary closing and affix your signature

Include a closing phrase and end your cover letter with your handwritten signature, followed by your typed name. If you're sending a cover letter via email, indicate your contact information below the complimentary close.

Here's an example:

Sincerely,

Li Nguyen
Copywriter, TypeF Industries
lnguyen@email.com
555-123-1234

Cover letter writing tips

Here are some additional guidelines to keep in mind when you write a cover letter:

  • Tailor your header based on the format of your application. If you are writing your cover letter directly within an online application form, you don't have to include your address or contact information because you might have already typed that into other sections of the application form. If you are including your cover letter as an attachment, you may use the same heading as your CV.
  • Keep your cover letter short brief and concise. Instead of reiterating details from your CV, focus on the information that is most relevant to the job. Read the job description closely to find out the best opportunities to demonstrate your qualifications.
  • Tell meaningful anecdotes. Instead of mentioning generic references to your skills, state meaningful anecdotes that tie your skills to tangible business results or concrete problem-solving activities you have worked on in your career. To make your cover letter impactful, you need to show employers examples of your skills in action.
  • Proofread your cover letter before you submit it. Reread your cover letter before submitting and look for grammatical, spelling and punctuation errors. You may read the letter aloud to identify too-long sentences or awkward phrasing.

Cover letter example

Here's a sample of a well-written cover letter:

Tisha Pang
523 Apple St.
Woodlands, Singapore 3215
555-212-5678
tpang@email.com

June 13, 2020

Steven Kho
Director, Human Resources
CompreWriters Company
842 Spring Road
Serangoon, Singapore 4521

845-563-7781

skho@email.com

Dear Mr. Kho,

I am writing to express my interest in the author's assistant position at CompreWriters Company, as advertised on your website. I currently work as a legislative director for Mr. Jakulan Nato, Chairperson of the YUK Assembly. I believe that the experiences and skills I have gained at this role make me an ideal candidate for the job of an author's assistant.

Working as a legislative director has helped me develop strong editing and writing skills. For instance, one of my main responsibilities is to prepare Mr. Nato's personal legislation, which handles issues related to his position as a senior member of the YUK Assembly Standing Committee. This responsibility requires meticulous editing and writing skills and an ability to convey complex legal ideas clearly.

I have also obtained several years of experience in policy and legal research—areas that you require the candidate must be familiar with. My experience in the YUK Assembly has given me the opportunity to become familiar with the consolidated and unconsolidated laws of New York. Also, through my work with Mr. Nato I have become heavily involved in the current healthcare reform movement. I am always very interested to learn more about state legislation, reading up on these topics in my free time to deepen my knowledge. I would love to bring this passion for law and policy to your company.

I be**lieve that my experience and knowledge in legislature as well as my writing and research skills qualify me for this position. If you are interested, I can send my work samples to you. I have also included my CV. I would greatly appreciate the opportunity to meet with you to discuss what I can contribute to your company.

Sincerely,

Signature (hard copy letter)

Tisha Pang