From this article you will learn:
- What is a cover letter? 3 topics to include in a cover letter
- Cover letter structure: 9 part of a cover letter
- 6 types of cover letters for a resume
- Cover letter format: The seven main rules of cover letter format
- Seven mistakes in writing a cover letter
- 8 Tips for Writing a Good Cover Letter
- Two templates of a cover letter to a resume
- Answers to Frequent Cover Letter Questions
What is a cover letter? 3 topics to include in a cover letter
A cover letter is a clarifying letter to your resume and a supplemental letter to your job application.
The cover letter should present you as the best candidate for the position for the employer, so it’s important to write your CV wisely as well as your cover letter to a resume.
You make a case for your employment beyond your resume in your cover letter.
Get this must-have 3-point list of topics to include in a cover letter to a resume:
Point 1. Motivation.
Explain to your potential employer why you applied for the job in a cover letter and prove that you consciously chose their company.
Point 2. Aptitude.
In your cover letter to a resume, state your experience and previous jobs. Give examples of how you could successfully use your knowledge and skills in another position and achieve excellent results.
Point 3. Added Value.
Cover letter structure: 9 part of a cover letter
A cover letter to a resume is structured along with the «I-You-We» scheme.
First, in your cover letter, you explain why you are interested in the company and the specific position, then you list your strengths and, finally, say what you can achieve together in the future.
A cover letter to a resume consists of nine main sections. Let’s look at each of them.
The first part of a cover letter: contact information
Be cautious with this section in your cover letter: typos and mixed-up numbers in your contact information prevent people from contacting you.
Contact information in cover letter:
- Address: street, house number, zip code, place of residence
- Phone number
- Email address
- Link to business profile: LinkedIn or Xing4rr
The next three lines in a cover letter under the contact information: recipient, employer, and contact person.
Here’s the structure by which you should write the contact person’s address in a cover letter:
Contact person’s info:
- Full company name.
- Name of the contact person.
- Contact person’s address: street, house number, zip code, place of residence.
On the right margin underneath or next to the contact person’s information, enter the current date you are submitting your cover letter.
Use a more up-to-date form of recording the date.
The second part of a cover letter: subject.
The subject of your cover letter should be written in the largest, boldest font and take up no more than one line. The subject line in a cover letter to a resume usually reads first.
In the subject line of your cover letter, include the exact position you are applying for and a link to it.
Under the subject of your cover letter, provide a link to the position in a smaller font.
The third section of a cover letter: greeting.
A high-quality cover letter begins with a personal greeting.
The fourth part of the cover letter: introduction.
Think about what questions the recruiter might ask you and answer them in the first sentence of your cover letter.
Examples of questions from a recruiter:
- Why do you want this job with this employer?
- What are your strengths?
- Why are you the ideal candidate for this position?
- What is your work style?
The introduction of your cover letter should grab the recruiter’s attention. It’s important for the recruiter to feel your energy and sense your reliability.
The optimal introduction length in a cover letter to a resume is 3-4 lines.
The fifth section of a cover letter: the main part.
In the main part of a cover letter, you describe your competencies and soft skills: hard skills are already listed on your resume.
Link your soft skills with specific actions you’ve taken. Then your cover letter will be persuasive.
Next, refer to the company: show that you are familiar with its activities and can add value to it.
Write a short paragraph in your cover letter about how you want to successfully apply your knowledge in your first few days at your new job.
The sixth part of a cover letter: conclusion.
A cover letter to a resume is a complete story, so it should culminate.
In the last sentence of your cover letter, express your desire to meet the employer in person at the interview: Be confident in your abilities.
Sometimes employers ask for specific information at the end of a cover letter.
The most common requests HR specialists have for you to mention in a cover letter:
- Salary expectations.
- Starting day.
Salary expectations are usually reported as a gross annual salary. Additional benefits (vacation pay or capital allowances) are not counted.
State a maximum specific figure that may differ from your past salary by no more than 20%.
If you have employment contract commitments with another company at the time of application, indicate this in your cover letter.
Include a time frame in which you can be contacted at the conclusion of the cover letter. Appreciate your time!
The seventh block of a cover letter: signature.
At the end of your cover letter, express your respect for the employer for taking the time to look at your resume. After that sign it with a blue or black pen.
The eighth block of a cover letter: postscript.
A postscript is an addition at the very end of your cover letter. It is labeled «P.S.».
The P.S. of a cover letter should consist of 1-2 short sentences.
The P.S. of a cover letter often catches the employer’s eye, so get creative and make it bright and memorable.
The ninth section of a cover letter: attachment.
If you send a full package of documents, add an attachment section at the end of your cover letter.
Check out a list of what you can include in the attachment of a cover letter to a resume:
So, let’s review the structure of a cover letter:
6 types of cover letters for a resume
Depending on the reason and purpose for your application, there are six types of a cover letters.
Type №1: Unsolicited cover letter for a resume.
The unsolicited cover letter is written for applications in the hidden job market or for jobs that have not yet been posted.
Type №2: Mail cover letter for a resume.
If you’re emailing your application, be sure to write a short 3-4 line comment cover letter.
Type №3: Internal cover letter for a resume.
This type of cover letter is submitted internally to one company when you want a different position.
Type №4: Informal cover letter for a resume.
The informal cover letter is submitted for internships, exchange programs, or temporary part-time jobs.
An attachment in the unofficial cover letter is not required.
Type №5: Post-employment cover letter for a resume.
When writing a cover letter after a layoff, focus on specific actions to improve the company and your motivation to work for it.
Type №6: Cover letter for a resume with no work experience.
It’s especially difficult to submit a cover letter if you have no work experience: employers often turn down such candidates.
Cover letter format: The seven main rules of cover letter format
The format of a cover letter to a resume is similar to a business letter.
The cover letter should be no longer than 1 A4 page. The minimum font size is 12 points, with 1.5 line spacing.
Catch a list of fonts that are perfect for a cover letter to a resume:
A compact cover letter shows that you can distinguish important and unimportant information, can analyze the reason, and state your thoughts clearly.
Use the colors of your employer’s logo in the subject line or attachment list: this is how you identify with your employer.
When submitting an email cover letter, use a PDF of no more than 2MB.
Seven mistakes in writing a cover letter
The cover letter is the first thing a recruiter sees on your application. To make a good first impression, avoid the following ten mistakes when writing your resume cover letter:
Mistake № 1 in a cover letter for a resume: use clichés.
Clichéd phrases are a sign that you don’t know how to formalize your thoughts on your own. They lack meaningfulness and personality; they state the obvious and don’t appeal to the recruiter.
Mistake № 2 in a cover letter for a resume: using «empty» sentences.
We talked to experienced recruiters and compiled a list of stop phrases in a cover letter:
Mistake № 3 in a cover letter for a resume: use the subjunctive.
The subjunctive mood and the verbs «to want» «to wish» give you insecurity about your skills, knowledge, and goals.
Modesty and restraint are commendable character qualities, but they can disadvantage a cover letter.
Mistake № 4 in a cover letter for a resume: write in literary language.
Leave long, complex sentences and colorful metaphors for school essays. Keep your cover letter comprehensive and concise.
Mistake № 5 in a cover letter for a resume: don’t follow the recommended length.
Please don’t write a long cover letter; otherwise, the recruiter probably won’t read it.
Mistake № 6 in a cover letter for a resume: Repeating thoughts from a CV resume.
No one wants to read the same idea several times.
Mistake № 7 in a cover letter for a resume: forget the signature.
Print your cover letter, sign it by hand, scan it and send it to the recruiter. This step will demonstrate your serious intentions.
8 Tips for Writing a Good Cover Letter
A cover letter should be bright and engaging to catch a recruiter’s attention for sure.
HR experts have shared some advice on how to write a cover letter and stand out from other candidates:
Tip 1. Include a contact person in the cover letter.
Figure out whose desk your cover letter will end up on, and address that person personally in the cover letter’s greeting.
Here are four ways to find out a recruiter’s name when applying for a cover letter to a resume:
Tip 2. Get in touch with the recruiter.
If you’ve spoken or met with a recruiter before, be sure to mention it in the text of your cover letter. For him, every personal connection is worth its weight in gold.
Tip 3. Don’t avoid numbers in your cover letter.
Make your cover letter clear and structured: add lists and precise data if possible.
Tip 4. Check your cover letter for typos.
Spelling mistakes in the text of your cover letter will not impress the employer positively.
Tip 5. Stick to the style.
Follow formal language in your cover letter.
State your arguments directly and to the point, then the recruiter will appreciate you.
Tip 6. Allow enough time to create a cover letter.
If the sentences in the text don’t add up nicely, take a break. Leave a draft of your cover letter and come back to it later. With fresh thinking and a clear mind, you’ll bring your cover letter to perfection.
Tip 7. Be honest.
In a cover letter, the temptation to show you are better than you are is strong. Don’t be tempted. An experienced recruiter will quickly recognize your dishonesty, and another honest candidate will take your place.
Tip 8. Don’t use the same cover letter for different openings.
Get creative and more personal with your cover letters for each company, and you’ll easily get the job you want.
Two templates of a cover letter to a resume
Unsolicited cover letter for the sales manager position at company X
What sets me apart is not only my passion for the field of sales but, above all, my belief that employees are the engine of the company. Three days ago, X announced its expansion representation in _. I am sure you will be opening new positions in a month, so I would be happy to help your company with my professional and personal skills. I see your expansion as an opportunity to swell the ranks of Company X sales managers.
During my undergraduate studies, I already focused on marketing and strategic management and did some «neuromarketing» work and a thesis on «product promotion strategies through social media.» I want to share my knowledge with your company and put it into practice.
I also got my first experience in marketing promotion as part of the internship program at company Z — from market segment analysis and customer profiling to developing strategies for expanding sales channels and introducing the product to a new market. Since your company also operates internationally, I can report and communicate with customers in English fluently and confidently.
I am convinced that I can benefit from working on your team and doing competent marketing analysis of your products to improve them. In addition, I am very impressed by modern marketing developments, and it is my concern to implement innovative production techniques. Maintaining a successful company operation is professionally and personally enriching for me.
I’m ready to begin work in July 2022. I look forward to personally convincing you of my ambition and abilities.
Informal cover letter for an internship as a Big Data analyst at Y
Dear Ms. Hess,
I see my career prospects with you, a global market leader in consulting, and therefore I would like to join you for an internship as a Big Data analyst.
I am currently finishing the last year of my bachelor’s degree in Business Informatics at the High School of Economics and am writing my dissertation on «Research on Modern Approaches for Building Cloud-based Product Analytics.» During my four years at the university, I participated in 6 hackathons and 12 case championships from Sber, McKinsey, KPMG, and other successful companies. My achievements include Cup Technical 2020, Cup IT 2020, Cup Technical 2021 — 15% HQI, Loreal Brandstorm 2021 — 3rd place.
As part of a semester abroad at V University, I improved my English level to C1 and made international contacts. Working with numbers and tables has been my passion since my first math Olympiads.
My expertise in artificial intelligence and database organization can help optimize your company and reduce employee time by 10%.
I had the pleasure of meeting you in person at the trade expo last week. The look of Company Y and the conversation with your employee, Mr. _, made a positive impression on me and strengthened my desire to join your team.
I am at your service for a personal conversation at any time.
Answers to Frequent Cover Letter Questions
1. How do I know what to write about in a cover letter?
Before you start working on your cover letter, try answering four questions:
- Why are you applying for this job? (Motivation)
- What knowledge and achievements set you apart? (Competencies and qualifications)
- What are your strengths? (Soft Skills)
- How can you benefit the company? (Profit for the company)
Group your answers by sections and put them in a cover letter. It`s done!
2. What are the soft skills better to include in a cover letter?
It all depends on the type of cover letter you choose.
Here’s a list of the eight most requested soft skills:
3. How to include a reference in a cover letter?
If you have a reference letter in your document package, make a note of it in the first paragraph of the main body of your cover letter.
Include the referral’s name, how you know them, and why they decided to recommend you for the position.
4. Is it always necessary to include salary expectations in a cover letter?
Only write salary requirements when requested by the employer.
Mentioning it beforehand may reduce your chances of getting the job.
5. When should you send a cover letter?
It is best to submit your cover letter on weekdays during business hours from 9:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. 3 to 4 days before the application deadline.
If you are mailing your application packages, plan enough time for the cover letter and resume to reach the employer.
Do you want to build a career as a remote specialist and get offers from good companies? Or are you tired of working in the office and want to try remote work from home?
Ucanremote will find the most suitable jobs for you where the chance of getting a positive response is close to 100%.
Ucanremote allows you to create a resume that differentiates you from others through:
- background checks with standardized tests from employers;
- feedback about you as a professional from your friends, acquaintances, former colleagues and managers;
- rating system based on your competencies.
Why Ucanremote is what you need now?
The cover letter is an important part of your resume. Get creative with it, and you’re sure to get the job of your dreams!