When starting to write your cover letter, it’s hard to stay focused on exactly what you need to include. We’ve put together some super simple anchoring questions you can use in your next draft. Thank us later.
An effective cover letter answers 4 questions that the hiring manager wants to know about you. Why you want to work for the company, why you’re the perfect match for the company, why you want the role and why you’re the perfect match for the role.
In our article 5 Cover Letter Mistakes And How To Avoid Them we mention that your cover letter should be around 250-300 words maximum. This means you need to make sure you waste no space by answering these 4 questions…
How To Write A Cover Letter
Why Do You Want To Work For This Company?
‘Why do you want to work for this company’ is one of the most commonly asked interview questions out there. This is because no company would want to employ someone who doesn’t give a shit about them. In order to answer this question effectively, you’ll need to do your research! (No, don’t click away, it’s easier than you think).
Focus your initial company research on their values and mission. You should be able to find this in a few minutes on their website.
Every company wants to hear why people love them!
Find out what makes them different from their competitors. This is because you want to avoid writing anything generic that could apply to any company. (This would risk them assuming you’ve sent this cover letter to multiple companies). Also pick things that you genuinely like about the specific company – enthusiasm stands out.
Why Are You The Perfect Match For This Company?
Next up, you’ll cover why you’re the perfect match for the company. You can link this directly to why you want to work for them.
For example, think about if one of the reasons you wanted to work for the company was the exemplary customer service they provide. You can show you’re the perfect match by linking that value of theirs to your previous experience working in hospitality where you developed an understanding of its importance and gained multiple 5 star reviews.
This is an excellent way of not only including your own experience in your cover letter, but also making it specific to the company you’re applying with. Aaaand it makes you sound like you have your shit together, even if you don’t feel like you do.
Why Do You Want This Role?
When writing about why you want the specific role, you have the opportunity to drop in some industry-specific knowledge (aren’t you clever?!). Perhaps during your research you found out that the particular area you’re applying for has had positive impacts on sustainability in the wider industry. Boom – a reason why you want to work in this role as you truly believe you can make a difference (which sounds far better than ‘I want to develop my career further in this field’).
If there’s no relevant industry news to draw on, you can instead show your enthusiasm for the role, showing genuine interest and passion for either the role or some of the skills involved.
Why Are You The Perfect Match For This Role?
Finally, expand on why you want the role and demonstrate why you are the perfect match. To do this, look through the job description and pinpoint around 3 of the main skills/traits they’re looking for, and explain how you possess these skills in the context of the role.
For example, if they’re asking for an ‘effective communicator’, you could write that ‘during my time with [a company you’ve gained work experience with] as a media intern, I worked in a fast-paced team of 15 people where I regularly interviewed members of the public, resulting in highly developed communication skills which I would be able to directly implement to [role you’re applying for]’
‘taking on the position of social secretary for the x society allowed me to develop my communication skills through face to face negotiations with venue providers, giving me the ideal experience to handle client expectations within [the role you’re applying for]’.
This takes it a little further than the SAR method you might have used on your CV. It clearly explains to the hiring manager why the experience you’ve mentioned is relevant to the role – making you the perfect fit. We knew you could do it.
Learning how to write an effective cover letter takes a bit of practice. If you’d like an experienced eye to look over your draft before you submit it, book a virtual cover letter review today before this week’s spaces fill up!