First impressions count. Some people think they don’t form an opinion about someone they encounter for the first time, but in reality, we all do it unconsciously. According to Forbes, "our conscious minds can handle roughly 40 bits of information a second. That sounds like a lot until you know that our unconscious minds can handle 11 million bps." And it is our unconscious mind that handles first impression information, as our conscious mind is so busy dealing with the other intentional aspects.
When looking for a job, we make this inevitable first impression with our cover letter. Because of this, it is critical that we pay special attention to writing an outstanding cover letter. But, you don’t need to spend ages writing your cover letter. The best way to do it is to create a template that you can customize each time you apply for a different job.
Remember to keep it simple, precise and straight to the point. If you follow these easy steps, you will be able to create your own cover letter template that you can easily customise for any role.
See Also: How to Write a Powerful Cover Letter
1. Start with a personal intro
Before you start writing your cover letter, you will always need to do your research. Who will be reading it? You should know the receiver’s name and surname to be able to address your cover letter. We all like to see our names written so start with:
"Dear [employer’s name],"
“Dear Sir/Madam” or "To whom it may concern."
Although this may be quite obvious, the opening should never be overlooked as it will encourage the employer to continue reading and will help you make a good first impression.
2. You and the position
In the first paragraph, you should introduce yourself and mention the job vacancy. Most companies normally have more than one job offer at a time, so make it clear from the beginning which job vacancy are you apply for. An appropriate way to do so is:
“I am excited to apply for [job title] because since I worked as [the previous job] I’ve always wanted to [reasons to apply].”
You can also explain in this opening paragraph how you found the job. It is an excellent moment to mention if someone recommended it to you or if you have any connection with the company.
“I know from [connection’s name] that working at [company name] is a great opportunity due to [reasons].”
3. You are the right candidate
Explain why you are the best candidate for the job. You can use examples from your previous job experience or education to back up your arguments. You shouldn’t repeat the points you already covered on your resume. You should only highlight the most valuable skills for the specific position.
You can talk about certain responsibilities and show your commitment using sentences such as:
"In my previous job as a [role title], I was responsible for [task 1, task 2]”
Or you can show your achievements in previous companies mentioning some remarkable results such as:
"My team and I at [company name] increased sales by [x%] compared to the previous year".
4. Leave them with a big smile
Like the rest of your cover letter, remember to personalize your last paragraph. Don’t waste the end of your cover letter, as this is your last opportunity to impress your potential employer and make them read your resume with a positive attitude.
If you are not sure about what to focus on here, take another look at the job description and see if there is anything you need to clarify. This can be a personal aspect related to the job such as:
"I’m relocating to [company’s location] to [reason]"
Or give evidence for your personal connection to the job saying something like:
"My skills as [personal skills] will help in the job because [reason]."
Use the last paragraph to empathize with your recruiter, try to touch their personal side while remaining professional.
Following these straightforward steps, you can create your own cover letter template to help you find your next job. Remember to be original and highlight what you can contribute to the company. This guide about how to write a great cover letter can give you some extra tips to nail your cover letter template.