Applying for a job: How to write a good cover letter?
Cover letter - definition and purpose
Cover letter, in other words a letter of application or a motivational letter, is a 'formal document describing the accompanying documents and/or other items and the reasons for sending them' (~Business Dictionary). It is a very vital part of your application because it 'merges' all the documents into one and gives you an opportunity to reflect on them. Such a letter is a great way of presenting yourself using your own words. After looking through the CV a Hiring Manager will refer to the cover letter in order to get more detailed information about the applicant.
What should the motivational letter include?
First of all the most important is to divide the document into paragraphs. Each of those should have a main theme so that the reader won't get lost or will have problems with understanding it.
First paragraph should consist of:
- brief introduction of yourself (what's your name, your occupation);
- the purpose of sending all the documents;
- source from which you got to know about this position.
Second paragraph is basically about YOU, therefore write about:
- what your motivation is to apply for this job;
- try to summarise your current state - your profession, gained experience and qualifications so that these features would fit the job you're applying for;
The third one can have more detailed information about you e. g:
- your personality traits and an appearance;
- lifestyle, hobbies and your way of spending free time;
- how you deal with people, what your attitude towards them is.
The fourth paragraph can be the last one:
- summarise the aforementioned content of your letter (pick the best features of you e. g qualifications or experience) in order to support your candidature;
- give the hiring manager the opportunity to contact you;
- write your expectations;
- finish with the signature.
TIP: Don't forget to include the salutation at the beginning of the letter - Dear Mr./Ms. Last name or if the name is not mentioned simply write 'Dear Hiring Manager'.
Length: The letter shouldn't be longer than one A4 page format (depending on the requirements of the company you're writing to). Each paragraph should be more or less the same size but the introductory and closing ones can be shorter than the main body.
Font: use the standard font types like Times New Roman, Calibri or Arial and it should not be smaller than 10 and bigger than 12. It would be good if you define the line spacing using simple or 1,5 line between each.
Margins: use the normal or moderate margins depending on whether you fit into one page or not.
Before sending don't forget to go through your cover letter once again in order to check whether you haven't made any spelling or grammar mistakes. Maybe after reading it for the second time you will reorganise the paragraphs or find words which can be more suitable for the text you wrote. Save it for the future use. You can also always consider making applications for jobs online.