How to write a Personal Cover Letter
A cover letter is a supporting letter about you that accompanies your documents when applying for a job. As a marketing tool, a cover letter can help you standout of that stack of job seekers. When poorly done, it will make you appear not creative and unsuitable. Because of this, you need clear guidelines on how to write a personal cover letter that will not find its ways into the trash can.
Managers receive copy-pasted cover letters, which makes their vetting task even easier. Would you read such a cover letter or think of hiring the individual? Definitely no.
We have designed this manual to help you write excellent cover letters at all times. This is what is coming up in the rest of the article:
- Effective cover letter writing
- Elements of a good cover letter
- How to catch the CEO’s eye with your cover letter
Getting started: Guidelines on how to write a personal cover letter that will earn you a job
The internet is replete with articles about writing a cover letter. However, if you are keen enough, you realize that they focus on nothing else but mere use of grammar. Take a look at the following rules on how to write a personal cover letter and see the need of making this manual your daily companion.
Rules to follow when writing a cover letter
Give the reason for sending your resume. Never send your resume to a potential employer without a good cover letter. Again, make the reader know what you are asking for as soon as possible without keeping them guessing.
Be specific. Do not beat around the bush as if you are not sure of what you want. Clearly state if it is an internship, a permanent job opportunity or an inquiry of future opportunities in the organization.
Tell how you learned about the vacant position. Hiring managers want to know how you got the information about the position you are applying for or their organization at large. This could be through:
- Online career sites
- Through friends
- Through social media
- Through job ad in the local dailies etc
Persuade the reader to read on. The greatest challenge you are likely to face when drafting your cover letter is giving the reader a reason to read your letter. Remember, the recipient will see the cover letter before turning to anything else. Write it effectively and in an attractive manner.
Capture your background elements. Note that your target employer is interested in specific aspects of your life. At minimum, these elements include education, leadership and experience- (we shall explore these components in details later in this article).
With the above basics of how to write a personal cover letter, let us look at an example and see ways of integrating the elements into your write-up.
Example #1 of a great cover letter
The moment I saw that advert of a communication assistant in your organization, I knew I was a best fit for the position and would offer the solutions you are looking for. Allow me to explain:
As you will discover from my resume, I have several hats in the field of communication. As a freelance journalist, I have hands on experience in public relations, marketing, copy writing, multimedia production, to name just but a few.
I am highly disciplined and organized since I work from home most of the days. Though I have passion in communication, project management is my bread and butter.
I am interested in a position where my skills count and my efforts are recognized. I know that I belong to your organization. So, let us talk before long.
Jane Clara. (Adapted from askamanager.org.
This is a great cover letter. From the word go, Jane builds her case and compels the recipient to read on. She finds a perfect way of using her passion and professional skills to pass the test. Come on! You can do it, in fact better than Jane!
More tips on how to write a personal cover letter that every employer wants
It takes effort, time and concentration to put together a compelling cover letter that will land you a job sooner than you expected. Take your time to customize a befitting letter without simply summarizing your resume. Spice it so that it gets into the HR’s file of ‘HIRED IMMEDIATELY’.
If you think this, sounds like black magic, apply the following hints on how to write a personal cover letter and see what happens.
Be focused. Pick on your most outstanding achievement or story that best portrays you as the best candidate for the position. Do not present a long list of your credentials; they belong to your CV. No hiring personnel, firm, or panel has the time for that. Simply tell that which makes you great.
Paint your picture. Do not duplicate your resume. Use this opportunity, which could be a minute or seconds with your potential boss to describe your career progression. You may also take an angle of the obstacles you have encountered and turned them into opportunities.
Show how compatible you are. The hiring manager is looking for candidates that fit the job and match the company. Are you that applicant? Your cover letter should have an identical tone with the job advert you read. Adhere to the tone all through.
Remain professional. Leave all the intimate details you are imagining out of this letter. Even though a cover letter takes a more personal slant compared to your resume, do not turn it into a therapeutic outlet.
Stay positive. Do not let all the negatives you have gone through take over your cover letter. Forget about the setbacks, politics, layoffs and office dysfunction that may have overshadowed your past. Their inclusion works against you as you turn out to be defensive and a difficult person to work with. Emphasize the milestones you hit and not the reason for your departure.
The example below should help you figure out how to write a personal cover letter that every HR manager longs to receive.
Dear Ms. Betty:
I hope you will consider me for a place as a research coordinator, as advertised in the Daily Mail.
I was overjoyed when I saw a vacancy at ABC Limited, as I have always marveled at your work. I am always overwhelmed by how you handle environmental issues in safeguarding the future of the planet.
As I read the job description in the advert, I found it describing myself. As you will notice in my resume, I have over five years experience as a research expert, in BCD Co, where I won accolades.
I am certain that my skills match the person you are looking for, as I am already excited about joining you.
In case you would like to schedule an interview with me, kindly reach me on 12325.
This letter is more compelling and believable because it is specific. The applicant knows what he is looking for. The tone is interesting and no manager can dare ignore such a potential employee. You can read the entire letter by visiting askamanager.org.
By now, you should be able to puzzle out how to write a personal cover letter that is all-round and rewarding. The following section gives a summary of things to do and avoid, to standout. Read on…
Mistakes that make a personal cover letter boring and less effective
Here are grave mistakes that you should avoid at all cost:
TO WHOM IT MAY CONCERN. Address your cover letter to a real person. Find out TO WHOM you should write to, before you start writing.
Dear Madam– This is a lifeless salutation. Do not turn off your reader with the salutation. Use something like, Dear Ms. so and so…
Long essays. Keep in mind that LESS IS MORE. Draft a short, focused and sweet cover letter to get an interview call.
Ending. Have an animated and enthusiastic ending that leaves a mark, i.e. “Looking forward to a one-one interview.”
As you digest the above tips on how to write a personal cover letter, consider the following ‘bad’ cover letter.
Example #3 Bad Cover Letter
Dear Human Resources:
Therein is my resume for the position of a communication officer.
I currently work at ABC as a journalist, a position I have held for the last two years. Prior to joining ABC, I was at XYX, UHV and IBV. ..
Joe (Adapted from .askamanager.org.
This cover letter is a waste of time and space. It lacks the punch to compel any hiring manager to read on, leave alone calling the applicant.
Use the above nuggets we have covered and sell yourself to the corporate world as unmatched job seeker. Good luck in your career endeavors.
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