Crafting a winning cover letter

Killer Tips to Crafting a Winning Cover Letter

Companies are beginning to increasingly exempt cover letters from the requirements when inviting applications. This is probably because the people in charge of recruitment in those organizations are probably as excited about reading cover letters as you are about writing them. Few people enjoy writing cover letters and even fewer enjoy reading them.

However, when a company actually requests a cover letter to be included in an application, then you had better get it right or there would be no hesitation before your letter is cast into the heap of abandoned letters- trust me, that heap always exists.

Companies that require a Cover letter are seeking much more than your Resume or CV can tell them. They want to get a sense of your personality and your real life skill and how you have utilized them. This can be a tough call if you do not know how to approach it.

Here are a few very valuable tips that you need to have at the back of your mind whenever you need a Cover letter crafted.

  1. Take Advantage of Pro’s

One of the most freeing revelations you would ever have in life is the realization that you really do not have to be an expert in everything. You can actually stick to what you know how to do best and consult experts to do what you cannot. This is what profitable businesses do and perhaps it is what you should do also.

There is a myriad of online resources that can help you craft a healthy cover letter. There are even cover letter builders that you can use to get a decent cover letter done in record time. However, if you are looking for something unique and very specialized then we at Dalton and White specifically offer such services from our team of seasoned career and business professionals.

Free yourself to excel by asking for some professional help when you need to.

  1. It’s About Them

Way too many cover letters are just plain selfish! The writers go on and on about themselves and how they are the best thing since sliced bread. While a cover letter must cover extensive grounds about your abilities, you must learn to word it in such a way that it is about them not you.  So, let your letter sell you without focusing on you.

Even when you talk about why you’re pursuing the job, let your words highlight your passion for what the organization does. Let them see how you are equipped to help them and not what a great opportunity it would be for you to work for them. “I have proven skill in content creation and can translate same to the media unit…” sounds far better to an employer than, “Working with your media unit will be a great step forward for me and will give me the opportunity to…”. You get the idea? Keep the company in the center and core of the letter and you will do fine.

  1. Pay Close Attention to The Job Requirements

Most companies are very detailed in their job requirements. They are profuse in their descriptions and take their time to bring out bullet points for everything they require in a candidate.  It is surprising when people craft cover letters and totally ignore the job description given.

Your cover letter should focus more on covering the grounds the job description requires and showing the employer how you are qualified and a good fit for the job. You can even be as cheap as crafting your cover letter paragraph by paragraph to cover exactly the same things the description requires in the very same order. It is far better than rambling off on many skills and accomplishments that are unrelated to the job description.

So, a cover letter must be as flexible as a resume and adapt to the particular job applied for. Always, keep the requirements in mind as you write.

  1. Amplify Your Skills

Chances are your CV is focused on your accomplishments, degrees and certificates. This is okay and since you are crafting a cover letter, take your time to focus on your other skills that are not in your CV or that can best be described even if you don’t have a name for them.

For instance, “sticking strictly to deadlines” and “performing very well under pressure” are skills that may not find a place to be named in your CV, but can be reflected in your cover letter. While you are at it, give them some background to the skills; experiences that show how you have used such skills to effect.

  1. Be as Descriptive as Possible

Do not say; “I have successfully executed a great deal of projects in the freelance writing sphere”. A great deal is not a number. You need to get specific and give as many facts and figures as you can. It is far better to estimate and say, “I have completed over 600 articles” now that is more specific. It will be even better if you can give an exact number.

If you are trying to show that you have successfully organized groups or led them around a cause, tell them how many people you organized. You should rather say, “As the president of xyz association I rallied 2000 students to engage in community service such as…” than say, “Being the president of xyz association I was responsible for organizing students for community services”. The latter describes a role, which you may or may not have performed. The former describes an event.  Employers want events in your cover letter so leave the roles in your CV.

  1. Add Some Personality

The only thing more boring than reading cover letters to an employer is probably reading CV’s. While you must stay within the limits of professionalism, you can be funny, creative and write your cover letter in such a way that the employer immediately looks forward to working with you.

  1. Don’t Clutter

Keep your writing, clean and simple. Do not use ambiguous terms or unnecessarily complex language. Make sure you break up different complex ideas and descriptions into paragraphs for easy reading and comprehension.

Don’t clutter your work and the employer just may enjoy reading your cover letter.

These points do not suggest that you cannot get creative and think up a few more, but we are quite certain that if you can stick to these, you will be well on your way to creating a killer cover letter.

Now, go get that job!

Here’s to your career success!

~ Ayoola Ajibare

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