Getting your first job can be a real challenge. Not only do you have no experience (in most cases), but you also have no connections from past jobs to get referrals. That being said, you can still create a great cover letter that will help you get a job. Hence, here are the five tips to write a cover letter for your first job.
1. Prepare Before You Start Writing
First of all, you need to prepare well before you actually sit down to write the letter. If you prepare well, it will be much easier for you to craft the perfect cover letter. Here are some things to do as you prepare:
- Take a good look at the job posting to see what is required. The skills and other competencies mentioned in the listing need to be mentioned in your cover letter to show that you really are the right person for the job.
- Check the company’s website to understand what kind of culture the company has. What products or services do they offer? Who works for them? How would you fit in? If your values and goals align with the company’s, you can use that information in your cover letter to present yourself in a specific way.
- Perfect your resume or CV that you will use to apply for the job. Your cover letter can’t substitute it but is rather meant to complement it. Knowing you have a solid resume will help you write a good cover letter.
2. Get Through the Basics First
Once you have prepared well, you can move on to getting the basics right. The first thing you need to determine is the reason why you want to work at a specific job and a specific company. Depending on your situation (e.g. a student working at a startup), you will be seen in a specific way by a potential employer. If you understand your reason for seeking a job, it will be easier for you to understand the perspective of your employer and use that in your cover letter.
As someone with no or little experience, you will need to focus on soft skills throughout your letter, so keep that in mind from the beginning. Also, before you start writing your cover letter, list all your contact information at the top of the letter. You already have it listed in your resume but putting it on your cover letter as well ensures that the HR manager reviewing your application will definitely see it. It will serve as a reminder to the manager to get in touch with you after reading your cover letter.
3. Start Off on a Good Note
Now you can start writing your cover letter, and obviously, you need to start off on a good note. At the beginning of your letter, you need to greet the reader and introduce yourself. A formal greeting along the lines of “Dear Hiring Manager” will be great, but if you want to go a step further, you can do some extra research and personalize the greeting. By showing that you know who to address it to (e.g. Mrs. Anderson), you show that you are seriously interested in the company and want to get hired for the position.
Jeremy Patterson, an experienced writer from the top writing reviews site, says, “Personalizing your greeting in your cover letter might not seem like something significant, but it can make a huge difference. Hiring managers go through hundreds if not thousands of applications to find the right candidate. Many of those applications are nearly identical, so personalizing your cover letter will help you stand out from the crowd and be remembered.”
4. Focus on Skills and Achievements
As mentioned earlier, because you don’t have much career experience, you will need to mostly focus on your soft skills. However, you can still focus on your hard skills as well as your achievements if there are any relevant ones. Your education is relevant to the job, but it’s better to highlight any internships or volunteering you’ve done in your field. In addition to that, you should explain how your education and your experience (if you have any) enable you to have specific skills relevant to the job.
In other words, you need to demonstrate that you are the right person for the role when you write a cover letter. That’s why one of the first things you had to do was look at the job description to understand what kind of candidate the company is looking for. It’s not just your enthusiasm or passion for the job that will help you get the position – it’s also the relevant education, experience, and skills. So you do need to spend quite some time explaining how you fit into the company and why you will be a valuable asset.
5. Wrap It Up and Proofread the Letter
Lastly, when everything is written, you can wrap up your cover letter. It’s a good idea to ask for an interview right before the final goodbyes. This way, you are being proactive and asking the hiring manager to get back to you about the application even if you don’t get to the interviewing stage. On the other hand, asking for an interview could help you get the said interview and eventually get the job itself if you are accepted after it.
Don’t forget to proofread your cover letter thoroughly. Check it for any spelling, grammar, and punctuation mistakes. Make sure that it is structured well and is both clear and cohesive. You don’t want to confuse your hiring manager or mislead them about your abilities. Save your cover letter as a Word document and convert it to PDF. Most companies will want you to send the letter in either one of the two formats. Always have your Word version ready so that you can edit it or tweak it if the situation demands it.
All in all, taking the time to write a good cover letter is crucial for you to get that job. So, don’t overlook the process. Use the tips in this article to help you succeed.
About the Author: Nancy P. Howard has been working as a writing expert at Trust My Paper essay writing company for two years. She is also webmaster at custom writing review service Rated by Students. She loves traveling, photography and is always happy to meet new people.