A Guide to Writing a Persuasive & Powerful Cover Letter

Tuesday, June 21, 2022

A Guide to Writing a Persuasive & Powerful Cover Letter

Cover letters can seem daunting to write, but they’re an integral part of the application process. Plus, they let you show your personality and further explain why you’re the best fit for the job. The key is making sure that your cover letter is customised and crafted for the position you want. As you apply for the role use the following steps to write a cover letter that gets you the job you want.

What is a Cover Letter?

A cover letter is your chance to elaborate on your skills and by telling stories of past accomplishments and successes while explaining how they are relevant to the position you are applying for. The Society for Human Resources surveyed organisations on cover letters and found the top three things that must be covered in a cover letter are:

 

  • How a candidate’s work experience meets job requirements.
  • How a candidate’s skills meet job requirements.
  • Why a candidate wants to work at the organisation.

 

Your cover letter needs to provide this information and leave the reader convinced of why you are the right person. To accomplish this, you should be using the requirements of the job to dictate the content of your cover letter and following these best practices.

What to Include in Your Cover Letter

In order to write an effective cover letter you need to know the basic format and high points that you need to cover before you can write a great cover letter.

Here’s what you should include in a cover letter:

 

  1. Your contact information at the top
  2. The specific role that you’re applying to
  3. An address to the hiring manager
  4. A brief description of why you’re a good fit for the role (more on this next)
  5. Your relevant experience and skills
  6. A conclusion that reiterates your interest and ends with a call-to-action
  7. Your signature

 

Tips for Writing a Compelling Cover Letter

Now that you know what a cover letter is and how to structure one, here are our top tips for writing a good cover letter. Show how you can solve specific problems Saying you’re a ‘problem-solver’ is about as helpful as explaining your preference for chocolate croissants over regular croissants. Don’t tell them about your amazing problem-solving skills. Explain the details of a particular problem you were key in solving and how exactly you employed your skills to solve it. Better yet, if you know the company has a particular problem you could help solve, outline how you can help solve it.
Pick an appropriate voice and tone You should write like yourself, but you should also pick the appropriate voice and tone for the company you’re applying to.

Researching the company, will help dictate the tone you want to use, which may differ greatly, depending on where you apply. For example, the tone of your letter for a legal consulting firm will likely differ from a tech start-up.

Tell your story, Telling stories from your career is a great way to demonstrate your skills and give hiring managers some insight into your personality and work style. When looking for the right stories to tell, always look at the requirements for the position in the job description.

It is also helpful to research the company further online to get a sense for the company’s culture. Before drafting your cover letter, compare your skills with the requirements for the position. 
Honesty is the only policy Dishonesty on your cover letter isn’t in your best interest. Implying or stating that you have a skill that you don’t actually have will come back to bite you upon being asked to use that skill in the interview or on the job. 
Hiring managers are going to read the same basic cover letter repeatedly, and you don’t want to be the last template email the hiring manager discounts before lunch. Adding a little word variation helps you stand out against other applicants. Instead of describing yourself as creative, try imaginative. You’re inventive, not innovative. You’re not determined, you’re tenacious. These word variations at least show that you can think beyond what the average applicant is willing to do.

End with a call to action 
End your cover letter with a reason for them to contact you. 

Proof your cover letter Always proofread your cover letter for errors and have friends and family read through the cover letter. Address the recruiter or hiring manager by name ,“Dear Sir/Madam” or "To whom it may concern", when addressing the recruiter, The heading of your letter should correlate with your CV, the font should be the same and the paper (if you’re printing it) should also be the same. Along with your CV, your cover letter is part of a pair, and this pair should be visually consistent.


What to Leave Off a Cover Letter?

Recruiters and hiring managers read thousands of cover letters and CVs, so make sure that you avoid these cover letter errors:
Avoid overused phrases 
The average cover letter is going to be extremely generic and contain overused expressions such as “Thank you for taking the time to look at my CV” or “I believe that my set of skills make me a great fit for the job.” While none of these lines hurt your chance of getting the job, they certainly don’t help either.
Career coach Angela Copeland says, “stay away from phrases that are known to annoy hiring managers, such as ‘heavy lifting’ or ‘think outside the box’ or ‘game-changer.’”

I hope these tips are helpful but if you are ever unsure please get in touch and we would happily look over your letter before submitting. 

 

Good luck 

Reference Glassdoor