How to write a first class cover letter

Your cover letter is the first thing your potential new employer is going to see, so you need to make a good impression. Starting your letter with “you won’t find anyone better!” maybe isn’t the way to go, but we’ve got some tips for you that are effective and are sure to get your name out there.

Start strong

You want the recruiter to read your cover letter, not disregard it as the same old, same old. Don’t address your letter “To Whom it May Concern.” It’s overused, and it’s basic. Avoid using these introductions, and instead, do your research. Look everywhere to find the name of the recruiter, and spell it right, for crying out loud. You’re not getting any job if you call the hiring manager John instead of Joan.

How to write a first class cover letter

Make an impact

Your first few sentences are the make or break of your job application. Briefly mention your main skills and qualifications. Don’t go into detail, that’s what your resume and remainder of the letter are for, but do let them know why you’re so perfect for the role. If you write something average, you’ve got to expect your letter to be in the trash or deleted folder of the employer’s emails within minutes.

Relevance is key

If you’re applying for an office assistant, but your only experience is in a dog grooming salon, don’t go on about your dog handling skills – they don’t care. Make every skill and qualification you have relevant. If you dealt with customers, explain how good your communication skills are. If you were inputting bookings onto a computer, tell them about your ability to use computer software. Write about your initiative in the salon, and your incredible time keeping skills. You get the gist.

The end is as important as the start

At the end of your letter, you want to leave a lasting impression – if you don’t, they won’t remember you, and your application ends there. Briefly sum up what you’ve said, and why you’re the ideal candidate. Don’t, by any means, tell them everything again. A couple of sentences about how much you want the job, and how skills X, Y, and Z mean that you’re a great asset to their company, will suffice.

End it positively

A final sentence or two about the application often works wonders. For example, “I look forward to hopefully speaking to you in the interview. Thank you for your time.” is going to work for you more than “I don’t think I’ll get it but I hope I do.” We’re taking liberties a little there; we hope no one really says that, but again, you get the point.

How to write a first class cover letter

Signing off

Finally, don’t end with “Thanks.” It’s unprofessional and informal. End with “Yours Sincerely” if you know the recruiter’s name, and “Yours Faithfully” if you do not.

It can be hard to write a formal and unique cover letter, especially if you have little information to go on about the company or role, but, if you follow these tips, you can’t go wrong.