Your cover letter may be the only opportunity you have to convince your hiring manager to read your resume so it’s important to get it right.
Cover Letter Basics
- Email Subject: Position you are applying for;
- Always to try address the key hiring manager or recruiter by name. If you are unsure, a simple phone call should provide you with the necessary information;
- Your first sentence should clearly state your purpose, this should also include the position title;
- Your Signature: Should always include your contact information, including your phone number;
- Always spell check and send yourself a test email to ensure everything is right before actually sending;
- Double check your resume attachment is included;
- Always use a very simple font and steer clear of any fancy formatting, this is a business email;
- You can include your cover letter with your resume and copy it into your email;
- Remember that this is a business email so be formal, don’t use slang, abbreviations or be overly familiar;
- Make sure your grammar is correct. If unsure, have a friend check it over for you first;
- Be enthusiastic in your interest for the role;
- Remember that your cover letter is a sales tool so don’t be afraid to “sell yourself”, list a few key accomplishments here, especially if they relate the role you are applying for;
- Try to match the language you use with the language in the job specification, visit the company website or search on the organisations branding so that you can tailor your response based on your research;
- Keep your cover letter brief with only a few top selling points (3 maximum), your qualifications and experience, most prospective employers spend just 30 seconds scanning your cover letter before deciding to trash you or to read your resume.
Sample Cover Letter:
Subject: HR Manager Opportunity
Dear xxx Persons Name (or Sir / Madam if you don’t know their name)
First Sentence states your purpose e.g. “I am writing in relation to the HR manager position that was advertised on jobstreet on Wednesday the 5th of August”.
Briefly describe yourself and what you can offer. e.g. “I am currently the HR manager at Nestle Malaysia and have 7 years of HR experience. I have a degree in human resources from the University of Malaya and am currently managing three staff”.
Really sell yourself here: e.g. “In my current role I have received excellent feedback on my teamwork, leadership qualities and ability to look at the bigger picture. It is my desire to step into a more senior management role and I am confident of my ability to deliver on the requirements listed in your advertisement”.
List your availability for an interview and your desire to meet the employer. Mention in your letter that you have attached your resume: e.g. “I have attached my resume for your perusal. Thank you for considering my application, I would welcome the opportunity to discuss my skills and experience further and look forward to hearing from you soon”.
The end of your cover letter should be signed “Yours Sincerely” and under your name include your contact details.