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Mastering the art of cover letters: A step-by-step guide

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A job search can be a challenging journey, filled with numerous hurdles like resume updates, networking and interviews.

Among these tasks, crafting a compelling cover letter often poses a unique challenge for many.

A well written cover letter can set you apart from the crowd, making your job application more appealing to employers.

This guide will break down the steps to mastering the art of writing cover letters.

 The purpose of a cover letter

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Understanding the core purpose of a cover letter can make the writing process a lot smoother.

Essentially, a cover letter serves as an introduction, supplementing your resume and providing context for your job application.

It’s your chance to express your personality and showcase why you’re the ideal candidate for the job.

Learning how to write a cover letter that addresses the employer’s specific needs can significantly enhance its impact.

How to write a cover letter: The opening

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The opening of your cover letter is the first impression you’ll make on a prospective employer, so it needs to be strong.

Begin by addressing the hiring manager by name if possible, as personal touches can make a significant difference.

Your opening paragraph should be attention-grabbing and should state why you’re interested in the role and the company.

Make it clear what you bring to the table right from the start.

Writing a cover letter: Making your case

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After a compelling opening, the main body of your cover letter should dive into the details.

Here is where you expand on your qualifications and how they align with the job description.

Use specific examples to highlight your skills and experiences that make you a fit for the role.

Each point you make should be aimed at showing how you can contribute to the company.

Showcasing your skills

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The cover letter is an excellent opportunity to showcase skills that might not be evident from your resume alone.

Are you a team player? Have you led projects or initiatives that had a significant impact?

This is your chance to elaborate on those unique qualities that make you the ideal candidate.

Use concrete examples to add credibility to your claims.

Tailoring your cover letter to the company


Generic cover letters rarely make an impression.

Researching the company and understanding its culture can help you tailor your letter effectively.

Mention why you’re interested in working for this specific company, citing aspects like their mission, projects or work culture.

Show the employer that you’ve done your homework about the organization and that you see a future there.

Closing your cover letter

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As you wrap up your cover letter, it’s crucial to end on a strong note.

Reiterate your enthusiasm for the role and express interest in moving on to the next stage of the hiring process.

A clear call to action, such as requesting an interview or further discussion, can be a powerful motivator for the hiring manager to contact you.

Sign off professionally, using phrases like «Sincerely» followed by your name.

Proofreading and formatting

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No matter how strong your content, spelling and grammatical errors can undermine your cover letter’s effectiveness.

Take the time to proofread thoroughly and consider asking a friend to review it as well.

The format should be clean and easy to read, with plenty of white space and a standard, professional font.

Attention to detail can make your cover letter more visually appealing and easier to read.

Follow up

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Once you’ve submitted your application, the process isn’t over.

Following up can show your continued interest and keep your application at the top of the pile.

Wait about a week to 10 days, then send a polite email to inquire about the status of your application.

This is also an opportunity to reiterate your enthusiasm for the role and the company.

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