Cover letter is a statement of purpose, explaining applicant’s fit for specific position or role. Other titles used interchangeably for cover letter are; Application Letter, Application Essay, Personal Background, Introduction Letter, etc.
Most times, your cover letter could probably be the first thing the recruiter will see. Therefore, it should be written in a way that is appealing to the reader and as such invite the recruiter into the actual document [CV/Résumé]. The tone of the letter should be business-like, employer-focused and should respond to the job requirements.
Cover Letter should not be a ‘one-size-fits-all-role’ document.
It is not advisable to use one cover letter across board, for all vacancies, across all industries and sectors. Every cover letter should be customized for specific job vacancy, job responsibilities and job requirements.
Most often than not, job vacancies require cover letters. However, in a scenario where it is not explicitly stated as part of the job requirements, it will be worthwhile to write the cover letter as the body of the mail (BTW do not forget to attach your CV/Résumé).
Suggestion: Always have the specific job description handy when drafting a cover letter, pay attention to relevant keywords/phrases and present your skills or expertise in the most applicable way possible.
Address it like a business letter and you can adopt the recommendations below unless otherwise stated during application.
- THEME FONT: The choice of font style should be clear and easy-to-read e.g. Times New Roman, Calibri, Serif, Arial, etc.
- FONT SIZE– Font size should be between 10pts-12pts.
- LENGTH– Total length should not exceed 1 page. If it goes beyond that, review and edit the document to fit into a page.
- LINE SPACING– Use the line spacing rule as applicable on a business letter.
Design or formatting is inconsequential if the content of your Cover Letter cannot effectively showcase your skills and potentials or demonstrate your fit for the role.
The contents of the letter should include;
- Address of writer and recipient.
- Salutation- keep it brief and direct.
- Paragraphs- not be more than 4-5 paragraphs
Ideas for arranging paragraphs;
¶ 1- Indicate purpose of application.
- How did you hear about the role and through which medium- Newspaper publication/ website/ referral/ or on LinkedIn?
- You could also specify why you are interested in working for this particular employer.
¶ 2 & 3- Fit for role
- Outline your qualifications/competencies and match them to the requirements of the position.
- Provide specific and relevant achievements to demonstrate fit for the role (use bullet points for emphasis)
¶4- Next Step
- Include a brief paragraph that indicates what action will come next.
- Make known your availability for an interview opportunity to discuss further.
Close by thanking the employer for their time and consideration and Signoff with ‘Yours Sincerely or Yours Faithfully’.
Finally, proofread more than once! Double check for grammatical or spelling errors! Assume the role of the hiring Manager!
Do not second-guess whether the cover letter will be read or not. Do the needful and maximize every opportunity to get your dream job.
COVER LETTER WRITING
Let’s write a cover letter for a candidate applying for a Territory Sales Manager role with the job description below;
Territory Sales Manager Job Description (Ref: #2305)
The territory sales manager is responsible for all managing all sales activities within a defined geographical territory.
- Building the business within the territory using a variety of sales techniques.
- Targeting potential customers and assessing opportunities for sales.
- Arranging meetings with potential customers and selling product offerings.
- Cold calling companies within the territory and establishing needs.
- Putting together a list of target companies within the area.
- Analyzing competitor activities in the region and assessing opportunities for business development.
- Working to revenue targets and KPI’s as set by the sales director.
- Networking with businesses in the territory and building relationships.
- Attending relevant industry events and conferences to build business.
- Chasing sales leads from other members of the company.
- Working closely with other territory sales manager’s and national account managers.
- Putting together sales strategies to target large accounts.
- Keeping up to date with industry news to identify opportunities for new business.
- Previous experience working as a territory sales manager.
- Relevant industry background gained from a competitor or company in a related industry.
- Excellent people skills and an ability to build relationships with people at all levels.
- Proven track record of building business and hitting sales targets.
THE COVER LETTER