How to Write a Cover Letter in 8 Simple Steps

How to Write a Cover Letter in 8 Simple Steps: 2022 Guide

Learn how to easily create a professional cover letter with our step-by-step guide. Whether you want to write a cover letter with no work experience or a speculative cover letter. Have no fear, this post covers everything and more you need to know about how to write a great cover letter. you'll never need to look for a cover letter example ever again!

You may be wondering why you should include a cover letter with your job application. Nowadays, a cover letter is required. We've got easy-to-follow steps with examples, a few bonus tips, and answers to frequently asked questions to ensure your letter is in great shape and that the process of writing it is as painless as possible.

Key points at a glance:

  1. What is a cover letter and why is it important?
  2. Cover letter layout
  3. How to write a cover letter in 8 steps
  4. Sending your cover letter
  5. 6 Tips for the perfect cover letter
  6. Key takeaways

What Is a Cover Letter, and Why Do You Need One?

A cover letter is a brief word document that you send to a hiring manager or recruiter along with your CV. Why do you need a cover letter if you already have a cv? A cover letter differs from a CV in that it is written specifically with the job you're applying for in mind, allowing you to highlight specific areas you believe would make you suitable for the role.

When done correctly, a cover letter allows you to speak directly to how your skills and work experience align with the specific job you're pursuing. It also allows you to hint to the reviewer that you're likeable, unique, and likely to be a valuable addition to the team.

When Do You Need a Cover Letter?

When submitting a CV for a job, you should always include a cover letter. A job application, on the other hand, should specify whether or not a cover letter should be included with your CV. If you include one when you've been asked not to, a potential employer may skip it and go straight to your CV, or they may think you're bad at following simple instructions.

If you do not include a cover letter, you could include a brief introduction at the beginning of your CV (if space allows). We cover introductions in our guide to writing a CV.

If a job description makes no mention of a cover letter, include one just in case. If writing is an important aspect of the job, this is an excellent opportunity to demonstrate your abilities.

If you're applying online, you can send it as an email, or you can print a copy to go with your paper application.

How to Start a Cover Letter

First and foremost, you should do some research. Take the time to research the position you're applying for as well as the company, and use this information to tailor your cover letter to the advertised vacancy. You should learn the company's mission, competitors, target markets, job role, and the required skills before writing a cover letter.

Cover Letter Layout

Cover letters and CVs are rarely sent as physical copies in 2022, and have been for some time, but the cover letter should still be written in a formal manner like any other business letter, digital or not. Although there are no fixed rules for writing a cover letter, making sure it flows well is critical if you want to impress recruiters.

The thing is, you do not need to be creative or even good at writing. All you have to do is follow our steps and you will have a perfect cover letter. This is the basic structure, which we will go over in greater detail if you continue reading.

  1. Add your contact information
  2. Addressing the hiring manager
  3. Introduce Yourself
  4. Second paragraph: Show How the Company Will Benefit from Hiring You
  5. Third paragraph What can you do for the company?
  6. Formal closing: Reiterate your interest

So how do you go about writing one? Here is how to write a cover letter, in eight simple steps.

8 Steps to Write Your Cover Letter

What should a good cover letter look like? Use these eight steps to create a letter template that you can customize for any job.

Step 1: Header with Contact Information

Starting your cover letter with a contact information section, just like a CV, is critical: Here is all the information you will need to include:

  1. Full Name
  2. Phone Number
  3. Email
  4. Date
  5. Name of the hiring manager/their professional job title
  6. Name of the company you are applying to

In certain cases, you might also consider adding

  1. Any type of social media profile that is relevant to your field. LinkedIn, GitHub (for developers), Medium (for writers), and other social media profiles
  2. You can mention your personal website if it adds value to your application in some way. If you are a professional writer, for example, you can include a link to your blog.

Here is what you shouldn't include in your header.

  1. Your Full Address 
  2. Unprofessional email address- When applying for jobs, keep your email address formatted with your first and last name.

Step 2: Addressing the Hiring Manager

After you have listed your contact information correctly, you should start writing the cover letter's contents. The cover letter should be addressed to the hiring manager as the first step. If you know who the hiring manager is, address your cover letter to them specifically.

What do you put on a cover letter if you do not know the recipient's name?

If you do not know the recipient's name and are wondering how to open a cover letter, use one of the most commonly used formal greetings, 'Dear Hiring Manager' or 'Dear Hiring Committee'. Introductions like "To Whom It May Concern" or "Dear Sir or Madam" are too outdated for a cover letter, whereas greetings like "Hey!" and "Hi there" are always too casual.

Step 3: First paragraph 

This is where you introduce yourself. First impressions are important, especially in the job search. Recruiters receive hundreds, if not thousands, of applications. They are unlikely to read every single covering letter from beginning to end.

As a result, it is critical to grab their attention right away in the first paragraph. To really grab the reader's attention, you should start with 2-3 of your most significant achievements. The achievements should ideally be as relevant to the position as possible. The purpose of the letter should be stated in the opening statement. Proceed by stating the position you are applying for, where you saw it advertised, and when you can start.

Step 4: Second paragraph

Show How the Company Will Benefit from Hiring You. Highlight relevant work experience and demonstrate how your skills align with the job description's specific requirements. Identify any other qualities and explain how they may help the organization. But, before you write anything, you should understand what the most important job requirements for the role are. So, open the job description and assess which responsibilities are the most important.

Step 5: Third Paragraph

What can you do for the company? Are you the ideal candidate? This is your opportunity to demonstrate what you can do for the company. Outline your career objectives (be specific to the position you are applying for) and expand on key points in your CV, including examples to back up your abilities. The HR manager considers more than just whether you'll be good at your job. They want the right person, someone who is a good fit for their company culture. You must also persuade the HR manager that you are enthusiastic about working with them.

To begin, apply everything you have learned about the company through your research. You want to know things like: what is the company's business model? What product are they selling? Have you used it? What is the culture? Then you must decide what you like about the company and translate that into text.

Step 6: Last Paragraph

Reiterate your interest in the role and indicate that you would like to meet for a job interview. Complete any points that were not covered in the previous paragraphs. Do you have anything else you would want to say? Is there anything more that the recruiting manager could use to decide?

You should also express your gratitude to the hiring manager for taking the time to read your application. Being nice never hurts, as long as you do not appear overly dependent. The final sentence of your cover letter should be a call to action. You should ask the recruiting manager to act on your behalf.

Step 7: Signature & Formal Closing

Finally, wrap up your cover letter with a professional closing salutation. If you know the recruiting manager's name, sign off your cover letter with 'Yours sincerely' or 'Yours faithfully' if you do not, and then add your name below it. Remember to sign your cover letter by hand if you are printing it. Feel free to add a digital signature for a touch of personalization if you are feeling really creative.

Step 8: How to Format a Cover Letter

Your cover letter should be well-presented, concise, and to-the-point.

  1. Check that your contact information is aligned to the right. The rest of your text should be aligned to the left
  2. Use single spacing or 1.15 line spacing throughout.
  3. Use double-spaces between paragraphs.
  4. Use a comparable template to your CV.
  5. The length should not exceed one page (A4).
  6. Make use of a professional font like Helvetica or Calibri.
  7. Send the cover letter as a PDF attachment.

Re-read and Revise 

Check your cover letter for spelling, grammar, and grammatical errors several times before submitting it. Reading the letter aloud can help you catch awkward phrasing or overly long sentences. There are a few common errors that we all tend to overlook, so read slowly and carefully, examining each word. Double-check the spelling of the hiring manager's name if it appears in your salutation.

Sending Your Cover Letter

If you are sending your cover letter as an attachment via email, make sure to use the PDF file extension. This way, any computer will be able to view the file and all of your formatting will be preserved.

If you need to send your cover letter as the email's body text, you will need to take a slightly different approach. If you must send your cover letter as the actual body text of your email, you must take a slightly different approach. Employers do not always accept email attachments. In these cases, simply copy and paste your resume into your email message. Remove the fancy formatting and use a simple font. Avoid using HTML because you do not know what email program the recruiter is using. Keep your message simple. The recruiter may not see a formatted message the same way you do.

6 Tips for the Perfect Cover Letter

Because employers frequently receive a large number of applications for each job vacancy, you must ensure that your cover letter leaves an impression for the right reasons. Here are some tips to help you succeed:

  1. Keep it brief and sweet: While there are always exceptions, do not go over a page with your cover letter.
  2. Relevant Skills: To differentiate yourself from other applicants, highlight your most relevant skills and expertise.
  3. Tailor your cover letter to the firm: Rewrite your cover letter to target the company every time you apply for a job. Use this as letter template that can be easily modified. Sending a generic cover letter template to all applications rarely yields favourable results, and recruiters can detect a lack of time and effort from a mile away.
  4. Business tone: Use appropriate language and tone. Maintain a professional tone and match the keywords used by the prospective employer in their job advert.
  5.  Format Use the same font and size as your CV, and print it on excellent quality plain white paper if you are mailing it or handing it in.
  6. Include examples: Show how and when you have applied your skills and work experience in your cover letter using real evidence or examples.

Key Takeaways for an Effective Cover Letter

Cover letters can be intimidating and time-consuming, but hopefully, you have gained some useful insight and tips that will assist you in writing your cover letter template quickly. Remember to include everything listed below in your cover letter to make it stand out:

  1. Make a header for your cover letter.
  2. Professionally address the recipient 
  3. Begin the first paragraph of your cover letter template with a strong opening statement.
  4. In the following paragraph, explain how your skills and knowledge will benefit the company.
  5. Reiterate your enthusiasm for the position and the company.
  6. Finish your cover letter with a formal closing.

If you follow the guidelines in this article, you will be one step ahead of many other applicants applying for roles in 2022. Forget the cover letter example and sample cover letter that has been getting you nowhere. Now that you know how to write a cover letter, are one step closer to securing an interview.

If you have not read our CV writing guide, you can find it here: How to write a CV: The Ultimate 2022 Guide.

Getting it right and good luck job hunting!

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