How to guide on writing effective cover letters that land you interviews

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You probably know by now the importance of an effective cover letter in your job search. Every job seeker knows the importance of cover letters. The challenge is how to write one professionally and effectively and with the right structure, keywords and components.

In this article you will learn how to write an effective cover letter from start to finish with all the tips and tricks that will make it appealing and eye catching to recruiters.

What is a cover letter?

A cover letter is a document sent with your resume or CV to provide additional information on your skills and experience to potential recruiters. Employers use cover letters to screen applicants for available jobs and to determine which candidates they would like to interview.

Types of cover letters

There are broadly three types of cover letters depending on the purpose and mode of solicitation either solicited or unsolicited. The three types of cover letters are

  • The application letter which responds to a known job opening or one advertised and responses are being solicited by an organization.
  • The prospecting letter as the name suggest is for unsolicited attempts at prospecting for a job. It is cold call by a job seeker to a potential employer to make inquiries and to offer their services.
  • The networking letter which requests information and assistance in your job search.

For the purposes of this article we will focus on the application letter therefore we will be using the “application letter” style.

Components of a cover letter

A cover letter has several components and can well be written on one A4 sheet of paper. The components are:

  1. Name and Contact in header (Optional)
  2. Address
  3. Addressee
  4. Salutation
  5. Opening/introduction
  6. Body (3 paragraphs)
  7. Closing
  8. Name and Signature

A cover letter should look like this:

sample cover letter

Writing your cover letter

Before the body

Start writing your cover letter by providing your address at the top right corner and note it is important to add you contact if you will not use your header to provide that information.


Immediately below the address to the left of your address put the addressee there which is the recruiters address and name if you have it.


Open with a salutation either in a personalized form or an open generic form. It is here you put your Dear Emma which is personalized and the best form especially if you know the name of the Recruiting Manager. On the other hand, if you do not have a name go with the generic Dear Sir/Madam, it will also work fine.


Writing the body

The body is where the flesh of your cover letter should go and you should limit it to a max of four paragraphs.  


Dedicate the first paragraph to your introduction where you will focus on a opening punch that will glue your recruiting officer. In this paragraph state the position you’re applying for, how you heard it and why you are applying. State clearly your reason for applying which should focus on experience, skills, training and the desire to contribute to specific beneficiary group or industry.


In the next paragraph state how and why you are most suitable for the position. In this paragraph use positive words and phrases to depict your skills, education, experience and key accomplishments that are relevant to the job description. Look out for the key skills and experience required in the job description and tailor your letter to bring those out clearly as strengths you possess.


In the next paragraph demonstrate your knowledge of the industry and why you want to work in the sector or industry. Also write about the company you’re applying to and possibly show how you’ve the right fit of skills and values to help the company move to the next level.


Finish off your letter by thanking the recruiting manager and tell them you are ready for a call to discuss your competencies into details. It is a good place to provide your phone or email or refer them to it in the header.


Then end it with Yours Faithfully or Sincerely followed by your signature and name.

If you have further questions or any burning issue, leave a comment below and we will be sure to answer. For more insightful articles be sure to subscribe to receive best insights for your career advancement.

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Nicholas Guribie
Nicholas Guribie

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