Cover letters are just as important as CVs. Even though they might be time-consuming, it’s an essential tool for the modern jobseeker. A cover letter can make your job application stronger, providing you with a brief summary of who you are and what you can do for employers. It acts as an ‘introductory letter’ that gives employers an overview of what’s written on your CV and provides you with the opportunity to distinguish yourself from the crowd.
But, writing a cover letter can be risky if you don’t know what you are doing. Even though it can help you stand out, it can also backfire. Employers use your cover letter to assess your ability to write and express yourself, and if you can’t do this effectively, you might have a hard time making a good impression on employers.
If you need help with your cover letter, we have put together some great templates and examples to give you a few ideas.
1. Entry Level
A great template to use if you want to apply for an entry-level position in marketing. It begins by discussing education which is essential for someone who’s just entering the field and doesn’t have much experience. It then describes the candidate’s skills, referring to examples of how he/she has met the job requirements in the past.
This example is quite long, but when you have enough experience and skills to back it up, that’s ok. Here, the candidate comes up with ways to explain why he thinks he is a suitable candidate for the internship program. A good idea would be to expand on how you are planning to help the organisation. The last paragraph is crucial as it shows initiative, a genuine interest in applying for the internship and hopefully arranging an interview.
It begins by stating the need for the company to hire a volunteer and then demonstrates the candidate’s experience. It goes on to discuss some personal information to help employers better understand his point of view and why he wants to volunteer in the specific field. He explains his desire to help other people, which confirms his genuine interest in volunteering.
4. Career Change
When changing careers, it’s important to state the reasons behind the decision. Just like you would do on your CV, you need to refer to transferable skills to justify your suitability for the job. This cover letter demonstrates the candidate's skills while also providing examples of his experience. It ends by asking the employer for a referral to someone who would be interested in his qualifications.
5. Managerial Position
The goal of this cover letter is to present the candidate as an experienced professional that has what it takes to be a manager. It focuses on what the applicant aims to do for the company - expressing his commitment to helping the employer achieve their goals. More specifically it talks about skills that relate to managing other people and makes effective use of the bullet points to focus on the candidate’s experience.
6. Cold Contact
The difference with this example is that it doesn’t answer to any job advert. Instead, it begins by addressing the need for the employer to achieve certain goals. This allows the candidate to mention relevant skills and experience that should prove useful. As a cold-contact letter, it should be written formally and talk about qualifications in the best light possible to make a good impression.
7. Letter of Interest
You use a cover letter to express your interest in a job. If you are not sure if they are recruiting, a letter of interest can help to find out if there are any available positions and if possible request a meeting to discuss things further with the employer.
This is a straightforward example that follows an informal style of writing, though, despite its simplicity, it says what it needs to say to recruiters. In just four small paragraphs it expresses the interest of the candidate in the job and provides the opportunity to explain how you can add value to the company. It gives references to the CV just like every effective cover letter does and projects confidence in the candidate’s abilities.
Referrals are probably the best way to get a job. As research from Glassdoor shows, being referred by someone at the company boosts your chance of successfully landing a job by roughly 7 per cent. A cover letter that talks about a referral can work better than others because it shows that there is another person that considers you the right candidate for the job. In this example, the candidate mentions the name of the referee and explains how these two know each other. Then he goes on talking about his work experience and achievements using numbers and convincing examples.
9. Applying through LinkedIn
If you have come across a job advert on LinkedIn, this is an excellent cover letter template to use. You can start off by talking about the role you are interested in, your experience in the field and then as this example shows, list a couple of achievements to show what you are good at. A bullet-pointed list comes out more prominently and can give employers an idea of what you are good at.
10. Value Proposition
A value proposition is commonly used in business as a marketing statement to promote a service or a product. When you are trying to communicate your value to employers, you need to ‘sell your skills’ and talk about your achievements. These should be supported by numerical data like this example shows. Also, you will notice that the beginning starts with a question, and makes it look like a catchy and creative advert.
As you can see, there are many types of cover letters, and there is no one way to write it. Yours doesn’t necessarily need to be conservative if it doesn’t match your personality, profession or industry.
The secret to writing a successful cover letter is to show employers that you have understood what the role requires you to do. When it talks directly to the recruiter it makes your application more powerful and identifies key skills which the applicant must be familiar with, e.g. writing and editing, and backs up those skills through relevant experience.
Have you started working on your cover letter yet? Do you find it easy or hard? Let us know in the comments section below…