It is commonplace to see Nigerian applicants complain that they have been applying for jobs endlessly, but never get invites from the companies. Funnily enough, they blame everyone else but themselves for this misfortune. Well, while some of them blame it on nepotism, others pass the buck on evil men in their villages. The point is, some companies may not be inviting you to interviews because your cover letters don’t seem convincing enough. If you claim you would transform a company if given an opportunity, you must be able to write a convincing and impressive cover letter. Yes, that’s a first attempt at your transformational ability. Are you unsure what an ideal cover letter looks like? Are you confused about the difference between a cover letter and an application letter? Do you wish to learn A to Z about cover letters? I assure you, you are reading the right article because I will tell you ALL that you need to know about delivering a rich cover letter with a sample.
A cover letter (American English) or covering letter (British English) is a document which accompanies curriculum vitae (CV) on a separate single page. A good cover letter strictly uses formal English. It clearly spells out the reasons why you stand out as well as why you should be considered for a position, and consequently invited for an interview. Note: cover letters don’t give jobs, but merely convince your potential employees as to why you should be considered for a job hence; you are invited for an interview.
What are the differences between Cover letters and an application letters?
- Just as the name “cover letter” suggests, it covers your CV and MUST go hand-in-hand with it. But an Application Letter does not necessarily go hand-in-hand with your CV.
- Cover letters give a little more give information about an “enclosed or attached CV” and why you are the best candidate for the job. But Application Letters give ALL the information an employer needs to know about you including your Date of Birth, State of Origin (if need be), just to name two.
Please refer to the Cover Letter sample on first page for tips:
I for one believe it is rather unprofessional to write a beautiful piece of what an ideal cover letter should look like without attaching a sample. Yes, I believe in practice. Now refer to the attached CV sample before reading the next paragraph.
- Heading: You don’t need to start with application for …..This is why it is a cover letter anyways. Application letters ONLY start with that.
- Address: A cover letter is typically a formal letter so ALL cover letters carry two addresses: writer or applicant’s address (topmost right) and the receiver or employer’s address (left). Just after your address comes the date of application. If the instruction says you should address it to someone, ensure you do it with the person’s name and position before name of company and its address. In this case, make sure you start with the person’s name. Example, Dear Mr. Ademola, Dear Engr. Emeka, Dear Barrister Osagie, etc. More so, you may NOT need to write the state if it’s within the same state, say you live in Kano State and you are applying for a job in Kano State.
- First Paragraph: This states your purpose for writing, the source of vacancy, as well as telling the employer that you are able to do the job. Note: You may use the terms: “position” or “post,” but DO NOT use “job.” All the bold words are KEY TERMS I strongly recommend you use to pass the right message to your prospective employer.
- Second Paragraph: This paragraph talks about relevant skill(s) you’ve acquired in the past and/or relevant tasks you accomplished as well as your current job and its responsibilities. Notice that the paragraph started with “As you will see from my enclosed CV.” Now, this is what makes it a cover letter because it refers your reader to your CV unlike an application letter. Notice also that I used “I am currently” NOT “I’m currently” because it is a formal letter. Hence; such contracted forms must be avoided. Furthermore, the entire statement BEFORE “I am currently working” tells your employer where you acquired a skill, and the one AFTER it tells your employer what you are doing now. Please be advised that is important you only talk about relevant work experiences. Finally, these two concepts (where you worked and what you do now) could also be split into two different paragraphs if you like/will.
- Third Paragraph: This tells your employer what interests you about the position and how you will add value to the organization. This is the opportunity you have to wow him or her with words.
- Final Note/Conclusion: Ensure that you use an email address which contains your real names as shown above. If you don’t, you may not be taken seriously. You don’t need any “Thank you,” please. In all formal letters (including cover letters), whenever you open with an unknown name like “Dear Sir/Ma,” “Dear Recruiting Officer,” “Dear Human Resource Manager,” make sure you end with “Yours faithfully,” your signature, and then your full names. But if you started the letter with a name or addressed to someone like “Dear Engr. Abubakar,” “Dear Barrister Idibia,” “Dear Dr. Tamuno,” then you MUST end it with “Yours sincerely.” Yes, that’s the difference! I’m glad you learnt that. In addition to that, notice that “faithfully” and “sincerely” are started/written in small letters. Notice that this is placed on the bottom left. “Enclosed (CV)” tells the prospective employer that you attached your CV and he/she should go check it out.
Remember, good cover letters and CVs don’t give jobs per se; they convince your potential employer as to why you are the right person for the job. Hence; it earns you an interview. Ensure your cover letter doesn’t exceed ONE page. Well, I strongly believe that this piece on A-To-Z About Cover Letter meets all you need to know about writing those killer cover letters that will earn you that interview. Getting a job is basically a two-stage process: firstly, getting invited for an interview (which a cover letter/CV will do for you), and secondly, blowing the mind of your employer during the interview (which will land you the job). After reading this guide, you are just a step away from landing yourself that job only if you apply this knowledge well. On a lighter note, now you don’t need to blame those old men in the village for your misfortunes. You have all you need. Shine, for the world is your oyster!