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How to Write a Compelling Cover Letter for a Job Application

by Roveen Anyango
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Sure, your CV might be the most requested document for many job applications, but a cover letter is the icing on cake for your CV. Put it simply, if a job posting asks for both a CV and cover letter, chances are your cover letter could be what determines whether you get the job or not.

That is why, then, it is critical that you write a compelling cover letter on your suitability for the post you are applying for. While no two cover letters should be the same (no matter the similarities of the jobs), you need a certain template.

Start with a professional greeting

When writing a cover letter, you need to be professional, even when you know the name of the hiring manager.

So, Dear Mr. John, or Dear. John are all appropriate, while greetings such as, How are you, John are extremely casual. Even if the job application appears casual, err on the side of formality.

If no name is present, rather than go for the stale Dear Sir/Madam, try Dear Hiring Manager instead.

Get to the point

You may have a lot of interesting stories to tell about how you got to this point of your career, but if it is not relevant to the job you are applying for, leave them out.

Instead, detail the reasons why you are interested in the post you are applying for and what makes you the suitable candidate for the post.

Hit the highlights

Most jobs will often give hints on what skills or talents they seek in their desired candidates. While you may list them on the CV, detail further the highlights in the cover letter. Begin by repeating the employer’s need for the role and then mention why you are suitable for the role.

So, it could go something like this:

“You mentioned that you were looking for someone with a background on cinematography. I studied cinematography is college, where I majored in Film and Video Production…”

Follow directions

Many job application posts will often have directions on what the employer wants to see in a cover letter. Ensure then, that you follow the directions given in the job posting.

So, for example, if the employer asks for links to your portfolio, or asks specific questions they want answered in the cover letter, or asks for you to include a keyword in your cover letter, then do just that. This increases the chances of your letter being read and not thrown out after a brief peruse.

Before sending the CV reread it two or three more times, edit and consider that your cover letter hit all the necessary criteria mentioned in the posting.

Form more tips on capturing a potential employer’s eyes, here is how to create a standout portfolio.

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