How to Write a Cover Letter in 7 Easy Steps (with Template Samples)

Have you been applying for jobs without getting invited for an interview?

Most job seekers rarely see the need for a cover letter during job applications because they feel they can just send CVs.

Even though your CV contains all the necessary details, there are situations when it may not be enough to help you land your dream job. Your CV may not do a great job of telling your prospective employer why you are the best candidate for the job.

This is where your cover letter comes in. One of the undiscovered job search hacks that helps you apply for jobs and get more interviews is writing a detailed cover letter.

This article will guide you on how to write a cover letter that will land you your desired job in 7 easy steps.

What is a Cover Letter?

A cover letter (also known as an application letter) is a text or document you send to accompany your CV, which provides additional information about skills and experiences related to the role you’re applying for. 

It usually includes three to four paragraphs, highlighting your experiences, achievements, and skills in relation to the job role you’re applying to fill. Hence, it is important to know how to write a cover letter.

Why is a cover letter important?

The cover letter is crucial and important since it provides further explanations of the information provided on your CV, and serves as the hiring manager’s first impression of you. 

Employers use cover letters to select the applicants they want to interview from the applicant pool. To determine whether candidates will make the extra effort, some positions demand a cover letter while others make it optional.

Different types of cover letters

Generally, cover letters have 4 categories; and they are briefly explained below:

 Application cover letter

This kind of cover letter is used to apply for jobs and is the most typical. This conventional approach comprises information about your professional background in relation to the job posting’s requirements.

Referral cover letter

A referral cover letter can also be used when applying for a job, but it mentions the name of a current employee who referred you to apply for the open position. A referral or recommendation may provide you with an edge during the hiring process. When compared to using the company’s website for the application, hiring through the referral or recommendation method is frequently simpler, less expensive, and more productive.

Letter of interest

A cover letter known as a letter of interest is used to ask about job openings at a company you’re interested in working for. Even if there are no open positions, a company may still be looking for competent candidates. This kind of cover letter takes the effort to express your interest in collaborating with the hiring manager.

Value proposition letter

A value proposition letter is a summary that explains what makes you unique, such as your skills, accomplishments, and the value you can add to a company. Short cover letters of this kind are frequently used as CV summaries or as responses to “tell me about yourself”-style interview questions.

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How to write a cover letter
How to Write a Cover Letter

Here is how to write a cover letter in the easiest possible steps. (See samples at the end of the article):

The best cover letters are ones that are organized from start to finish. Use your CV as a starting point for your outline to help you quickly summarize your top skills, background, and expertise. Preparing an outline is a great way to help you divide the cover letter into smaller parts as opposed to a large-scale project. 

Similar to writing a great essay or preparing a project timeline, you want to identify key points and takeaways you would like the company to be aware of. Start by assigning each paragraph with a section header, this will allow you to recognize where to place your skills, education, and additional experience all in a simple format. 

Include Your Contact Information

Give the recruiter or hiring manager the opportunity to reach out to you directly by providing your name and contact information. Although you’ve submitted your resume for review, your cover letter should also include some basic information should the hiring manager seeks to contact you without trouble. Remember, resumes get you noticed, and cover letters help you land the interview.

Pro tip: We recommend providing general contact information like your name, number, email, LinkedIn profile, the job you’re applying for, and your company. These are the basics that are essential for making your mark!

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Write a Brief Introduction

The key is to create an introduction that is both engaging and strategic. Drawing attention, in the beginning, is essential for gaining the reviewer’s interest and making an effective first impression. It is of much importance to emphasize who you are and what you do. Regardless if you are an entry-level job seeker or an experienced professional, proper introduction can set you up for success in the long run. Be unique and most importantly, be you!

Highlight Your Key Skills 

Whether you are utilizing target keywords from the job description or mirroring the look of your resume, highlighting your top skills will help you stand out from other candidates. This is best applied in the beginning and conclusion of your cover letter.

Pro tip: Start by discussing your experience and education in the introduction and then utilize keywords within the job description to highlight your top skills. Provide a brief overview of how you’ve applied these skills to your current or past jobs.

How to write a cover letter
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Summarize Your Work Experience

Chances are your work experience speaks for itself. However, it’s important to include only relevant experience that can be associated with the job. For example, let’s say experience in project management is required. You would start with the jobs where you’ve utilized this skill to help build a brand or organize a project from start to finish.

Pro tip: Be honest. It is better to be honest upfront about your skills since you will be expected to perform well if selected for the role. We also encourage you to use real examples in your cover letter, you can always explain in more detail if you are selected for the interview process.

Justify Why You’re A Good Fit

Think of your cover letter as a sales pitch, assuming that you’ve incorporated a resume, now it’s up to you to provide a brief summary of who you are, your expertise, and why you would consider yourself a good fit for the role. Be realistic as to what you will bring to the company, do you have a passion for business development or experience in recruiting? Give a few reasons why you are a good fit while providing unique qualities that make you a highly desirable candidate for the role.

Write A Conclusion

This section can be anywhere from a few sentences to a short paragraph. Here you want to provide a closing statement that emphasizes your skills, work experience, and any additional information you want the hiring manager to know. Typically the conclusion to any cover letter is a brief overview of the major discussion points from the letter overall. 

Tips for writing a cover letter

Here are some tips for you on how to write a cover letter that captures the attention of your potential employer:

  • Pick an appropriate voice and tone: Write like yourself, but research the company to get an idea of what tone and voice to use. For example, the voice and tone you use for a marketing design company will differ from a legal consulting firm.
  • Read the job description: Before writing a cover letter, read the job description closely to understand what the employer is looking for in an ideal candidate. Pick out keywords that emphasize desired skills and experience you have that are beneficial to them.
  • Pay attention to instructions: Some employers instruct applicants to answer specific questions or provide certain information in their cover letters. Be sure to read these notes carefully.
  • Address your contact correctly: Sometimes the hiring manager’s name is not available. In these cases, put the company’s name and address at the top, then address the letter as “Dear Sir or Madam,” or “Dear Hiring Manager.”
  • Switch it up: Try to use more creative word variations, such as “tenacious” instead of “determined,” and begin with an attention-grabbing starting sentence.

Keep it short: Most cover letters should remain under a page. The length will ultimately depend on the number of details you feel you must include and if the employer specifies a minimum or maximum length. Be as clear and concise as possible to illustrate your qualifications.

Things not to include in your cover letter

You can as well refer to this section as cover letter mistakes you should avoid. Below are some of the mistakes in cover letters:

  • Greetings: Phrases like “How are you?”; “Hope you are doing well?” are not meant to exist in a cover letter. You may ask that when you are being interviewed, probably to showcase how relaxed you are, which is cool.
  • Wrong company name: This mistake is common with Nigerian job seekers who have a single cover letter for all jobs. It is very probable to send a cover letter with another company’s name. Always double-check.
  • Wrong job position: This error is also common with the group of job seekers with a single cover letter for all job posts.
  • Spelling or grammatical errors: No matter how much we may try to argue this, many professionals in Nigeria gauge intelligence with English language proficiency. Don’t play yourself out. Ensure your cover letter does not contain any grammatical or spelling error. Especially if you are typing directly via Email.
  • Abbreviation: A cover letter is a formal letter. Avoid the use of abbreviations. Words like “don’t”, “haven’t”, and “Am” should be omitted. Instead use, “do not”; “have not”; and “I am” appropriate.
  • Desperation: Let the employer know you are interested in the job but never desperate. The use of phrases like “I can’t wait to hear from you”, and “I can see myself resuming the job already” should be avoided. Instead of closing your cover letter with this kind of remark, use remarks like “I look forward to your response.”
  • Weakness: Avoid including your incompetence such as stating the qualification you don’t have. Play your trump cards instead.

Examples of a Cover Letter

Below, you will find some samples of cover letters. Based on popular demands, we provided for Admin Assistant and Sales Representative.

Example 1: Administrative Assistant

Dear Hiring Manager,

I am writing to express my interest in the opening for an administrative assistant at [name of company].

I’m drawn to this opportunity for several reasons. First, I have a proven track record of success in administrative roles, most recently in my current job as an administrative coordinator. A highlight from my time here was when I proactively stepped in to coordinate a summit for our senior leaders last year. I arranged travel and accommodation for a group of 15 executives from across the company, organized meals and activities, collaborated with our internal events team, and ensured that everything ran according to schedule over the two-day summit. Due to the positive feedback I received, I’m now tasked with doubling attendance for the event this year and leading an internal team to get the job done.

I am attracted to this role because of the growth opportunities that [name of company] provides. The research that I’ve done on your company culture has shown me that there are ample opportunities for self-motivated individuals like me. A high level of organization and attention to detail is second nature to me, and I’m eager to apply these skills in new and challenging environments.

I look forward to sharing more details of my experience and motivations with you. Thank you for your consideration.

Sincerely,

[Your name]

Example 2: Sales Representative

Here is how to write a sales representative’s cover letter:

Dear Hiring Manager,

I would like to introduce myself as a candidate for the Sales Representative position at Intel Region. As an educated and experienced marketer, I believe I can exceed your expectations and increase sales for Intel Region.

My tenure at Scholarship Region proved to be a successful one. From day one I only gave my best. On the sales floor, I used many well-known marketing strategies as well as a few of my own techniques. During my first year, I increased sales on a product that previously had not been selling very well by 50%. By my second year, I was a top-five sales representative for Scholarship Region. Because of my success, I was able to attend several conferences, where I networked and learned new sales strategies from world-renowned experts. ” I believe that if a product will truly benefit a customer, then it is my duty to make them see how. I take time to learn about the customer and match them with a product that is best suited to their needs.

Ever since I was a child I have been interested in sales. I was always coming up with “products” to sell to my friends and family. From lemonade stands to peddling yogurts and snacks, I was born to sell. I saw school fundraisers as an opportunity to play salesperson even though I didn’t make any money from it. I loved the rush of getting a customer to say yes to a product. In 2019, I graduated with my degree in Marketing from Lagos State University.

Thank you for your time and consideration. I look forward to hearing more about Intel Region.

Sincerely,

[Your Name]

By following these cover letter guidelines and examples you will surely be ahead of many other applicants applying for the same role as you, and one step nearer to securing an interview.

We hope you enjoyed the read, and that it helps take you to the next level in your career. Don’t forget to check Intel Region Jobs for legit opportunities across the nation.

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