How to Write the Perfect Resume Cover Letter

Whatever type of manpower job you are applying for, the resume cover letter that you send to prospective employers can be every bit as important as the resume itself.

Many job seekers overlook the cover letter when applying for jobs; assuming that hiring managers, recruiters or whoever else does the screening of applicants is more interested in the CV. While it is true that your CV needs to be word perfect, a covering letter helps to introduce yourself, give employers a hint of what you have to offer and create the right impression as soon as your application email is opened.

What sort of things should you include in your resume cover letter, and how can you make it one that will be remembered?

Writing a Winning Resume Cover Letter
Assuming that you are sending your cover letter and resume via email, here are some things to consider when drafting your letter to potential employers:

    • Keep it relevant, simple and short
      One of the most commonly made mistakes that job seekers make is writing their letters as those they were abridged resumes. Other mistakes include long, rambling paragraphs that have typos and grammar errors and failing to use the letter to its full advantage. A good tip is to use this letter to show your industry understanding and expertise – research some news on the company you are applying to work for, bring up broader industry news or even include a relevant historical fact that applies to the field of work. Show your interest for the job, keep it under half a page and keep it on topic.
    • If you do not know who to address, do not address anybody
      Often, it is hard to know the correct person to address the letter to, and when that happens, it gets tempting to use a generic address such as ‘hiring manager’ or ‘to whom it may concern’. Rather than using a vague address, skip the address if you do not have a contact name. Instead, you can get right onto the message body or start with a quick introduction of who you are.
    • Avoid using obvious or clichéd phrases
      On the topic of introductions – you should try and avoid clichéd phrases. That includes openers such as “My name is John and I am applying for the engineering position”. The position you are applying for should be included in your subject line instead, and as such, starting your letter with this phrase is stating something they already know (which could make you seem short on experience). Avoid other clichés such as “honoured to have this opportunity” and “have what it takes to succeed”.
    • Close the letter on a strong note
      To finish off the letter, end by stating how your skills, experience and abilities will be of use to the company, and how you are the right person for the position. This should not be an essay though – sum up your suitability in a sentence or two, and then finish with your contact information to close.
    • Send the cover letter in a pdf format so that it is easy to open
      If you are emailing the letter, you have two choices – put the cover letter into the body of the email or send it as an attachment along with your resume. Your resume and the cover letter should both be in a compatible format that can be opened easily by the recipient, such as a pdf. This format is smaller than a .doc or .docx file, and can therefore be emailed more easily. It also reduces any risk of incompatibility when opened, can’t be tampered with and offers more control over how it appears on the reader’s screen.
Now that you know how to add more to your resume cover letter, you can fine-tune your next application to ensure that it has the best chance of being seen and remembered