Writing a professional cover letter to submit for an application is a serious hurdle for many job seekers in Nigeria. In fact, many don’t even know how to draft a cover letter. Aside from a professional CV that can appeal to the employer, the next thing that matters is your cover letter.
Photo Credit: Esther Omonigho Airemionkhale
What is a cover letter?
A cover letter is a single-page letter you attach to your application.
A cover letter is meant to summarize all the details you have listed in your resume.
Therefore, it is required to apply for every job except there is a specific instruction from the employer not to attach a cover letter to the resume you submit during an application process.
Your cover letter is expected to be in line with the job you are applying for.
That is to say; the cover letter will have to display your knowledge of what the job involves and how your competence and skillsets can meet the need of the company you are applying to.
Tips to make your cover letter stand out
Find out who to address the cover letter to
Avoid making the mistake of many job seekers. Don’t address your cover letter with “To whom it may concern.”
Go the extra mile to get information about the right person the cover letter should be directed to.
Note that this will take some of your time. Nevertheless, it is worth it.
It is possible that the name of the addressee is not included in the job advertisement. What you have to do here is to call any contact on the advert belonging to the company or call the advertiser to get more information.
After you are sure about the right person, the cover letter must be addressed to – use either “Mr.” or “Ms.” and their last name.
Get the necessary information about the job
Since you know where to address the cover letter, try to find more information about the employer’s expectations.
This will equip you with the right words to use to court their attention.
Furthermore, you can contact create a correspondence with the company where you can ask to know more about the job description. Note down the answers you get and ensure that they define the content of your cover letter.
Get more information about the company
Information about the company is the last thing to find out before proceeding to draft your cover letter.
With this information, you can easily win the employer’s heart with a cover letter that meets his expectation.
Here are some useful tips on how to get information about a company:
- Use the name of the company as the keyword to look for information online.
- Once you get the link to the company’s website, click on the “About us” page. This will give you the full details of what the company stands for in terms of service and value.
- In case the company’s name is not included in the job advert you saw, call the recruitment agency in charge to ask about the name of the company and other information you may like to get.
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Essential factors to make your cover letter professional
Make it easy to read and understand
Understand that a cover letter is for you to sell your skills and not the number of vocabulary you can speak. Use simple expressions that are easily understood compellingly.
Also, beautifully organize the content using a font of 12 font. Simplicity is key.
Make it short
Avoid writing too much. A cover letter shouldn’t exceed one page. An employer will not have that luxury of time to spend reading just your cover letter. For this reason, your cover letter should be about 300-500 words. Therefore, always ensure that you say the most important things that can help you get the job.
Tailor it to the company and the job
One interesting thing about the corporate world is that different companies have a particular need they are trying to meet.
This defines the caliber of people they look out for during the application process.
On your end, write a cover letter that shows that you have a good sense of awareness about a particular company’s goal at a time and explain how your skillets can move them towards achieving the goal.
Remember the different parts of an essay you were taught in school.
The knowledge is very relevant in writing your cover letter. The way you write your introduction, body, and conclusion has a long way to make your application stand out.
You can see the application process for jobs at the United Nations.
Essential tips on how to write a professional cover letter
- Don’t write, “I’m writing to apply for (job title). This is what an average applicant will write. Something like “I’m excited to be applying for (job title)” is correct.
- Explain how you got to know about the vacancy to show your level of social awareness.
- Begin your letter with a tone of confidence. Don’t use any technique that can make it seem like you are apologizing or being arrogant.
- Expand your resume by giving relevant details about your achievement, work experience, and other relevant information.
- Make sure you quantify your achievement.
Make it evidential. For instance, if you are talking about the level of sales you recorded, you can say, “I recorded a 44% increase in sales.”
- Demonstrate how you fit into the cultural background of the company.
If it is a multinational company, it would be nice to highlight your foreign language skills.
- Carefully select the words you use. Avoid the use of clichés.
- Use verbs that accurately describe your role
- In case you use an acronym, ensure you include its meaning.
- Directly tell the hiring manager to contact you for an interview.
- End the letter with a familiar sign-off;
For example, sincerely, regards, best regards, and
finally, append your signature.
Also: Learn how to write a winning essay for a competition.
- Isreal Winlade is a content creator and creative writer with awards and recognition. A graduate of French and winner of Erasmus+ scholarship. He is currently an M.A student in European Literary Culture at the University of Strasbourg, France. Outside class, he is committed to freelance writing, translation from French to English and vice versa, nature photography, debating, and pressing his phone.
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