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How to write a successful job application letter (cover letter)

How to write a successful job application letter (cover letter).

Every day, executive recruiters and hiring managers need to sift through volumes of cover letters and resumes just to find a handful of potential job candidates. Recruiters simply don’t have the time to thoroughly read all of the resumes that arrive at their desks each day. That means if you’ve got only one chance to grab that recruiter’s attention then you need to learn to be skilled at writing successful cover letters.

How to write a successful job application letter (cover letter)
How to write a successful job application letter (cover letter).


Writing Successful Cover Letters

So what exactly is a successful cover letter and how do you go about writing one? Well, a good cover letter is one that produces results – plain and simple. As we will demonstrate later on, your cover letter and your resume should be working together to increase your chances of getting a job interview.

If you’re applying to the right jobs (ones that you’re qualified for) and you’re not getting a callback, then either your resume or your cover letter is not telling the right story. We already talked about the time element – hiring managers, human resources personnel, and recruiters are all short on time. As job candidates, we need to help them quickly identify why we’re qualified candidates. And the first thing that most of these individuals look at is your cover letter.

 Also Read: 8 Most Common Job Interview Questions for Graduates

Elements of a Successful Cover Letter

Unfortunately, many job applicants spend a lot of time writing their resumes and literally slap together a cover letter. That’s a big mistake. When writing a cover letter you need to carefully organize the information using the same care you did when you wrote your resume.

A successful cover letter also needs to follow a prescribed format or formula. Our formula for writing successful cover letters consists of four elements:


  • Introductory Paragraph
  • Objective Statement
  • Achievements
  • Closing Statement


Introductory Paragraphs

The introductory paragraph is the single most important part of your cover letter. It needs to be a fact-filled overview of your skills and achievements that later appear in your resume. The following is an example of how to write an introductory paragraph.


Introductory Paragraph Example

I have successfully combined my (education) and applied skills in the areas of (direct sales, accounting, marketing, and operations) to successfully (meet or exceed all balanced scorecard targets) and (generate new revenues in excess of $5.0 million). I have been asked to take on increasingly more responsibility at Company 123.


Objective Statements

The second paragraph of your cover letter is going to do something that is really relatively simple, but often missed when writing a cover letter. You’re going to tell the reader why you’re sending them your resume. The key element in this second paragraph is your objective statement.

The objective statement is a summary of the job opportunities that you want to pursue with a particular company. The following example demonstrates this point.


Objective Statement Example

I am bringing to your attention my skills, accomplishments, and my talent (for obtaining superior results while under pressure) so that we can discuss my joining Company ABC as a (manager of your call center) team.


Achievements

The next paragraph of your cover letter will contain an excerpt of your career achievements that are pulled directly from your resume. By pulling vital information from your resume you’re going to save the reader time. If they are not interested in reading your resume after looking at the achievements appearing on your cover letter, then it’s probably just not meant to be. The following example demonstrates how achievements should be written in a cover letter.


Achievements Example

Major achievements to date include:

Founded a direct sales outsourcing firm following college graduation and grew revenue in ten years to $3,000,000.

Significantly upgraded consumer opinion of Large Companies through the launch of integrated branding and advertising campaign. Large Company was subsequently ranked #1 in consumer satisfaction by several research companies including J.D. Power and Associates.

Developed new client acquisition strategies for an inside and outside sales team. Successfully trained workforce in new client acquisition program that resulted in an increase to the number of active clients increased by 35%.


Closing Statements

You’re going to finish up your cover letter with a straightforward statement of your optimism – a closing statement. You’re going to tell the reader that you’re interested in discussing how you can add value to their company by becoming an employee. This last example demonstrates how to concisely write a closing statement.


Closing Statement Example

I look forward to meeting with you to discuss how I can add value to your company’s bottom-line results.

Check Out: How to Answer “Tell Me About Yourself” in an Interview (With Examples!)

Final Tips on Writing Good Cover Letters

You’ve got a lot of ground to cover with this letter. Even if you have hundreds of reasons why you are the most qualified job candidate and have dozens of great examples, keep your cover letter to just one page. In fact, challenge yourself when writing your cover letter to keep it as short as possible.

One way to keep your cover letter short is to keep on re-reading the document until you’re satisfied that all of the unnecessary details have been purged from the cover letter. Once that’s done, then you probably have narrowed things down to the truly essential information

Finally, have fun and enjoy the experience – don’t look at writing the cover letter as a necessary evil, but consider it an opportunity. After all, how often do we get a chance to tell someone how good we really are!

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