A Guide to Write A Compelling Cover Letter

“The first impression is the last impression!” – Perhaps, this statement is most applicable in the job-hunting scenario. That being said, the perfect cover letter format for resume can be the brightest first impression for you to the headhunters.

However, a lot of common people struggle with creating a quality cover letter maintaining the correct structure. There are two things you need to keep in mind while writing a cover letter – using the correct words and formatting it properly.

A cover letter written in the wrong format can be even more damaging than you can imagine. You could lose the opportunity of the interview, even after having all the right qualifications.

So, we would help today by sharing everything on a proper cover letter format. Sit tight and be prepared!

What is a Cover Letter?

Let’s start with the basics – what should you mean by a cover letter or if someone asks you to send a cover letter what you should deliver?

A cover letter is a supplementary letter explaining the details of another document or parcel. In the job-hunting scenario, a cover letter explains your motive, a brief introduction, your suitability as a candidate, and a closing statement.

You should send the cover letter as an introduction to the CV you are sending to the headhunters.

The next important question is – why should you even bother sending a cover letter?

When you are seeking a job, you will have to compete with other applicants and prove yourself worthy of the responsibilities of the job. That’s pretty much the basic.

With a cover letter, you have an opportunity to prove yourself a better candidate or make a finer first impression. In a word, a well-written cover letter can make you stand out in the crowd.

You can describe your personality, passion, suitability, and preferences in a formal way with a cover letter. A cover letter gives you an opportunity to present your humane characters to human resource team.

Is there any classification of the cover letter? Well, of course, there is!

Commonly, there are three types of cover letters –

  • The application cover letter
  • The prospecting cover letter, and
  • The networking cover letter.

People often consider an official e-mail as a cover letter. We don’t agree with it that much. For the sake of argument, let’s call them non-cover cover letters!

The Key Elements of Formatting Cover Letter

As we have already said, a cover letter is a type of formal letter. So, you should maintain a strict format while writing one. While you are writing, you should also think about the five must-have components –

  1. Salutation or The Hello
  2. Opening Paragraph or The Attention Grabber
  3. Middle Paragraphs or The Body
  4. Closing Paragraph
  5. Complimentary Ending

A perfect cover letter starts with a salutation just like any other letter. Here’s a pro tip! Try to get a name as it would make the addressing or the salutation more impactful. If you cannot manage a name, a simple “Dear Hiring Manager” would do the trick.

On the first passage, you will have to grab the attention of the person real quick. Try to show your passion for the organization or the job role (name of the position). Rather than going for a traditional start, creating an emotional punch would be better.

In the middle passage, you will show your spark. Your past experiences, extracurricular activities, your strengths would be a great way to showcase yourself. However, all of your words should be focused and aligned with the job description.

In the closing passage, you can try connecting the dots between your career goals and the organization’s ideology. Then, politely ask the hiring manager to check out your CV or resume.

Finally, you should end the letter with a formal tone. For example, a complimentary closing like “Respectfully yours” or “Sincerely” would be quite okay. Then, you should end with your signature if you are sending a hard copy.

Structuring Rules You Need to Follow

Formatting and maintaining a uniform structure are a must. You cannot expect to win the heart of the hiring manager if you are using “Calibri” in the first paragraph and “Times New Roman” in the next.

So, there are a few things that you have to follow strictly –

  • Alignment
  • Page margin
  • Line spacing
  • Fonts and font sizing

Okay, there is a bit of debate on the line alignment. Some say that using “Justified” alignment is a must while some say that it’s not mandatory. We don’t also think it is a must to make it justified. However, you have to stick to one alignment structure – either “Justified” or “Left.” You should never mix them two in the cover letter.

When it comes to the setting page margin, you should go for the default 1” margin in all sides. It would create enough white or void space that would make it soothing to look at. However, you can choose it to be ¾” too. Going for even smaller one would be a mistake.

Then comes the line spacing. You should set the line spacing to be 1.15. Setting it to be 1 would make it look too clustered, and 1.5 would make the writings unnecessarily long.

As for the font size, you should choose either 11pt or 12pt fonts as it looks standard. If you are confused about choosing the right font, we can help. Some may say that “Times New Roman” is the perfect font to go for. Yes, that’s true, but it also looks a bit backdated. You should go to the modern “Sans” fonts. The best cover letter fonts are – Calibri, Verdana, Ariel, or the Open Sans. These modern looking fonts look clean, simple, yet professional.

Cover Letter Format for Resume: Samples

Yes, we get it, you are looking for some perfect and usable samples. Don’t worry; we have some great cover letter samples that you can follow. But let us warn you, you should never copy a cover letter and send it to the hiring managers. It might backfire as they are quite aware of the common cover letters available online.

So, check them out –

Questions that Have Been Bugging You!

We get a lot of questions from our readers about writing a perfect cover letter and how should one format it. So, we have decided to answer the common questions we often get. See for yourself –

Sl. Questions Answers
1. What makes the cover letters so important? Hiring professionals often overlook resumes without a cover letter. Moreover, it is the best way to tell them “why you are a good fit.”
2. What is the most important thing to discuss in a cover letter? Simply ask yourself why should the company hire you and not any of the other applicants. The answer you got from your unconscious mind your unique selling point (USP). Try focusing on your USP.
3. What is the ideal length of a cover letter? A cover letter should never cross a single page. It should be descriptive yet not too lengthy and always leave plenty of void space in the page.
4. Can I use the same cover letter for all the companies? No, no, and no! Every company is different and so should your style of writing be.
5. What is the worst mistake in cover letters? Hmm… there are a lot! However, you should never brag about yourself without having enough facts and incidents to back it up; it’s too cheesy!

Expanding Your Resume: The Cover Letter is the Answer

A resume is meant to be short and concise where all can add only relevant information about. However, some information cannot describe how suited you are for a particular job.

So, you need to elaborate clearly why you are a better fit.

A cover letter can be the best way to expand your resume and discuss your strongest traits. However, you should never make any repetition of the resume while you are writing the letter. A repetition will be marked as a lacking of your creativity.

When you are writing this part, you need to sit back, relax, ask yourself your strong and weak sides. Then, you should discuss the strengths and turn the weaknesses in positivity.

However, you should never make false promises or write anything that would feel like bragging.

Three Mistakes You Should Avoid at All Cost

A lot of eager applicants make some grave mistakes that cost them the job. You should learn from their mistakes and avoid making them.

  1. Improper Addressing: Never use the salutation “To whom it may concern.” This is the worst way possible to address hiring It sounds like a mass-publicity brochure, not a targeted cover letter. Always, try to address the person by name. Otherwise, there is a strong chance that that person will not even bother reading your cover letter.
  2. Not Proofreading: Some people have too much confidence in their writing and never bother re-reading the cover and fix the silly grammatical mistakes. A typo or a simple grammatical mistake can be one of the worst things you can do.
  3. Blabbering Too Much: You have to keep in mind that a professional hiring manager has a lot on their plate in their everyday work life. It is one thing to be descriptive and completely different thing write up a novel about yourself in the cover letter. Keep things simple and never cross one page.

Need Some helpful Tips?

Okay, Let’s end today’s blog with some extremely helpful tips regarding how to write the perfect cover letter. Not only these tricks will help you design a cover letter better but also make you a cover letter genius!

  1. Before writing the cover letter, get into a room with no one bothering you. Get a pen a paper and start writing about yourself. First, write everything good about yourself, then all the skills and strengths you have, and finally all the negative things. Don’t just write keywords, write elaborately. After writing it, you will know you should approach and talk about yourself in the cover letter.
  2. Try finishing the cover letter in three to four paragraphs.
  3. Use simple yet formal fonts.
  4. Leave at least 40% blank space on the page.
  5. Proofread again and again. You shouldn’t proofread right after writing the letter. Take at least three to four hours of break and start proofreading again with fresh eyes.
  6. Always maintain one single format; don’t switch between formats.

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