At cvapp.nz, we know that creating epic cover letters can feel daunting. That’s why we’ve created the ultimate guide for writing the perfect cover letter. We’ll walk you through how to introduce your professional profile and strengths to potential employers. You’ll also learn how to highlight relevant skill sets and share what value you can bring to the job role. We believe cover letters are your chance to make a great first impression with employers!
Whether you’re applying for a job as a doctor or a dentist, we’ve got amazing professional design templates and expert advice to help you secure the job of your dreams. We’ll uncover the best strategies for landing your next job by addressing the following:
- Cover letter essentials
- The importance of a cover letter
- Uncovering your “why”
- The importance of choosing the right cover letter format
- Guidelines for cover letter introductions
- Guidelines for cover letter body paragraphs
- Guidelines for cover letter endings
Cover letter essentials
Cover letters are a great opportunity for employers and recruiters to get to know you better and what you have to offer to a potential job role. You can use your cover letter to express your personality and enthusiasm for the role and establish a connection with employers. Cover letters are also awesome as they allow you to speak directly with employers. If you have any gaps in your work history on your CV or want to address anything that wouldn’t fit in your CV, your cover letter is the best place to include it!
Cover letter formatting
Job-appropriate, clean formatting is one of the best ways to help your cover letter appear polished and professional to employers. It is also a great way to stand out from other applicants who may be applying for the same job role. Cover letters tend to follow the same general structure, and usually include the following:
- Cover letter body paragprahs
Why is a cover letter so important, anyway?
Why’s a cover letter so important? We’re glad you asked.
Cover letters help promote your professional story to employers and increase your chances of getting the job role you’re applying for. In your cover letter, you’re trying to convince employers as to why you’re the ideal candidate for the role. While CVs are great, cover letters allow you to speak directly with employers, whereas CVs don’t always have the space, layout or sections for you to do this.
Cover letters are also usually the first document employers will read. This means your cover letter is the very first impression employers have of you! If you have a great cover letter, your employer will want to read more about you. Conversely, if you have a cover letter that doesn’t adequately demonstrate your talents, work experience and strengths, your chances of an interview from employers radically decrease. Oh no!
Cover letters also help show employers that you’re serious about the job position. It demonstrates that you’ve done your homework on the company – after all, you’ve created a tailored, personalised cover letter just for your potential employer! Employers and recruiters are much more likely to appreciate and respond to personalised, professional documents rather than a generic document that could’ve been sent anywhere.
As you can see, here at cvapp.nz, we’re BIG fans of cover letters. We believe that the only time you shouldn’t attach a cover letter is if you’re told not to. Let’s begin!
How to start a cover letter
The three main parts of a cover letter include the header, your cover letter greeting and your introduction. We’ll explore each main element to help you understand their importance. If you’re a little unsure of what you should be looking for in a cover letter header or have a bunch of questions, don’t worry! After reading our guide, we’re confident you’ll be ready to create the perfect cover letter.
Choosing the right cover letter header
First, you’re going to need an attractive header. The cover letter header displays your full name and your contact details, including your address, phone number, email address, and any links to relevant professional websites. These websites can include links to professional social media sites such as LinkedIn, or websites where employers can see your professional portfolios, such as Behance. Your header should be neat and organised. If you’re uncomfortable with putting your full mailing address details, you can also just write the city or town and region you’re in! Having your contact details in your header will help employers reach out to you, so having a clean, uncluttered header is essential.
Cover letter greetings
Greeting your employers professionally is fundamental to creating a successful cover letter. Greeting your employer inappropriately can sabotage your chances of securing the job before employers even have the chance to read your cover letter! Where possible, use the employer’s name. This will show that you have consideration for your employer and that you took the time to find out who you’re writing to. What’s more, using your employer’s name will also show that your letter has been personalised just for them and isn’t just some generic document that you sent out to multiple employers.
Tone of voice is important when writing your cover letter, so be sure to adopt a friendly and confident tone. To start this off, you’ll want to use an amicable greeting. You can start with “Dear Mr Manihera” or “Dear Company XYZ”. This is a respectful, risk-free way to connect with potential employers. We don’t recommend using informal greetings, such as “hey” or “hi”. Ultimately, your greeting should match the culture of the company. Unsure of the company culture? Check out their website and social media for clues!
Writing an effective cover letter introduction
To craft an impressive and effective introduction, you’ll want to grab your employer’s attention by briefly highlighting your skills and achievements. So why are you the ideal candidate for the job? Brainstorm all the reasons you can think of, and once you’ve come up with your strongest reasons, don’t be afraid to start writing with confidence! Lay out the red carpet for your achievements. You don’t need to go into too much detail, (that’s where your body paragraphs come in) but you’ll want to grab your potential employer’s attention and keep them curious. Get them hooked! This will encourage potential employers to keep reading your cover letter and increase your chances of scoring an interview. Alright!
One of the most important things to remember when writing your cover letter is to keep things relevant and consistent. Avoid listing achievements or skills that aren’t relevant to the role. If you’re a rockstar tennis player or smooth with a surfboard, that’s great – but employers are only looking for skills that will help you fulfil the job role. Don’t be afraid to research the company to find out more about their culture!
Introductions hook employers in and get them curious for the rest of your epic cover letter. It gets them excited and interested! Think about previews at the movies – you’re given a taste test of the film, and suddenly you want to see more. You want employers to see your introduction paragraph as a great preview of your professional profile.
The body paragraph of your cover letter
Now that you’ve laid the red carpet for your achievements, skills and overall professional profile, let’s get a little deeper into the details! The body paragraph of your cover letter is also a great place to mention your motivation for applying to the role. Writing about your motivation for applying can be an opportunity to add a personal touch to your cover letter. For example, if you’re applying for a role as a nurse, tell your employers why! Maybe you were inspired by the selflessness and compassion healthcare providers have for patients, or maybe your life was personally impacted by a helpful nurse or doctor. As long as it’s relevant, sharing personal anecdotes in your cover letter can be a nice way to explain your motivations with employers and connect with them on a deeper level.
The body paragraph is the best place to go into detail about your work experiences and parts of your professional story you believe will add value to the job role. Mention any work experience that has equipped you with skills that would benefit the potential role, any skills or training you have received and any relevant accomplishments. Try to match what you write in your body paragraph to what you read in the job description. For example, let’s say you’re a cook applying for a position with a restaurant. The job description states that they’d ideally like kitchen staff that can work under pressure or in a fast-paced environment. Got any experience with working under pressure or in demanding environments? Write about it! Don’t be afraid to be specific and describe how these experiences would help you in your potential job role.
Ending your cover letter
Your concluding paragraph asserts your call to action. What do we mean by this? Essentially, you want potential employers to reach out to you. One way to help influence employers to contact you is to place a call to action at the end of your cover letter. Keep your tone of voice fresh, motivated and inspired. Your concluding paragraph is important and should finish with a bang.
Here’s a great example of a call to action statement: “I’d love to discuss my CV and cover letter with you further. Would you be available to chat next week?”.
This example politely and professionally provokes potential employers into wanting to reach out to you again and offer a response. We also recommend mentioning that you’re grateful for your potential employer’s time and consideration, and that you look forward to hearing from them soon!
To end your cover letter, you can use sign-off statements such as “warm regards”, “best wishes”, “yours sincerely”, or “ngā mihi”. All of these are respectful and professional and finish your cover letter off nicely.
If you need any more top tips, guidance or advice, check out the resources on our website. We’ve created powerful tools and materials to help Kiwi professionals unlock the next stage in their careers and achieve their full employment potential. Ngā mihi!