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Writing a formal cover letter is an essential part of your job search journey. Your cover letter should go beyond the information listed in your CV to provide a complete picture of your key credentials as a candidate. A great cover letter will set you up for success for the rest of the application process. This guide will show you:
The first step to writing the perfect cover letter is research. Study the job ad as well as the company’s website to build a precise understanding of the needs of the role. Make a note of two or three key skills that will serve as the foundation of your cover letter. Here are some examples of soft skills that are applicable to many jobs:
Hard skills will vary widely depending on the role but include things like:
Aim to cover a mix of soft skills and role-specific hard skills in your cover letter, as both types of abilities are key for most jobs.
Don’t forget to add your contact details to the page header at the top of the cover letter. This information includes your:
Present your contact details clearly so that the hiring manager can quickly reach out to you should they wish to advance your application.
Unless the job posting explicitly states not to, always include a cover letter as part of your application. Writing a good cover letter is key to making a positive first impression, and it’s an opportunity to expand on your key skills and qualifications.
Your cover letter should be about 3/4 of a page or roughly 250–400 words. If you’re struggling to keep to this length, then use bullet points (e.g., for featuring prime responsibilities or achievements from a previous job) for added brevity. Another tip is to start with a cover letter template. This will provide you with a set format from which to build out your cover letter.
The sample letter above works as a great template for all kinds of jobs and experience levels. If you don’t have much professional experience, then discuss any relevant experience as a volunteer or intern. If you also lack this kind of experience, then focus on your education and training.
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