What to Include in a Cover Letter
There’s so much to write, so what should you include in a cover letter?
When it comes to recruitment, the phrase ‘don’t judge a book by its cover’ simply doesn’t apply. With so little to make their assessment on, hiring managers depend on a cover letter to tell them why a candidate is worth interviewing. Of course, this raises another question: with the goal of creating a compelling argument for why you’re the right person for the role, what should you include in your cover letter?
Personal information and contact details
It may seem like a no-brainer, but you might be surprised as to how many applicants send cover letters with no details. The best cover letter lists a name and address along with an email address and your LinkedIn URL. Doing so will leave no room for confusion and make it as easy as possible for a hiring manager to get in touch. From here, you should start your cover letter with a formal greeting to your hiring manager. (A name, if you have one, will certainly help.)
An introduction that sparks interest
Cover letters serve as an introduction to your skills and competencies; they are an opportunity to weave your experiences together into a coherent introduction to your professional career. Your opening sentence should be a strong hook that grabs the attention of the hiring manager and encourages them to read on. For that reason, you should be looking to include your reason for applying, an impressive achievement and a clear interest in the company.
Why you’re right for the role
The body of your cover letter serves two purposes: to convince the employer why you’re perfect for the job and why the company aligns with your values, ambitions and aspirations. First and foremost, you should use your cover letter to showcase the highlights from your employment history.
Drawing on impressive or notable achievements, keep the job specification in mind and use it as an anchor to steer your cover letter. A hiring manager will be looking for quantifiable examples of your experience – use this section to provide the reassurance you have the unique combination of attitude, skills and mindset that they seek.
Why the company is right for you
This is a chance to demonstrate the research you have done into the company or at the very least, their industry, and link it back to your own aspirations. Once again, the job specification should provide an indication as to the direction the company is moving in as well as its strategic objectives. How do your own professional goals tie into this?
While your aim is to convince the employer that your skillset and their requirements are a match made in heaven, employers seek candidates who will positively impact their company culture. With this in mind, don’t hesitate to draw on soft skills and get your personality across.
A compelling conclusion
Having made your case as to why you’re the best candidate for the role, always end your cover letter with a polite sentiment that thanks the hiring manager for the time they have taken to read it. Use this space to let the employer know that you would relish the opportunity to discuss the role further and summarise your strengths into a strong finish.
The next step to the perfect cover letter is an ending that gets you an interview.