A cover letter should follow a correct pattern so that the ideas flow smoothly and each paragraph can support the other. In this article, we will discuss the right cover letter structure.
What to Include In Each Paragraph
An ideal cover letter should contain at least three or four short paragraphs. Each paragraph should not contain more than five sentences for easy reading. What should you include in each paragraph?
The first paragraph is where you should make a brief introduction about yourself and the position you are applying for. This is also the part where you should mention how you learned about the job vacancy. Did you read it from the newspaper, form an online job listing, or did a person working in that company advised you about the opening? If you personally know someone who works for that company, mentioning the name of this person can win you positive points and increase your chances of getting hired even more.
In your second paragraph, you can talk about your credentials, accomplishments, and strengths. You can also mention a specific experience that shows your competence. For example, if you have worked for an old employer, you may talk about a certain project that you lead or have been a part of. What was the result of that project and how were you able to contribute in the success of that project?
If you have no job experience, you may focus on your positive accomplishments while you were in college. Did you take up part-time jobs while you were studying? Were you a leader or a member of an organization in your university? How were you able to contribute to the success of the organization?
If applicable, you may continue on this subject in the third paragraph. However you want to limit the paragraph into two or three sentences only. Choose your words carefully to make sure that you can get your point across without using unnecessary terms.
In your last paragraph, persuade the reader to take a look at the next document in your job application – your resume. Remember to thank the hiring officer for his/her time reading your resume. Once again, ensure the manager or the prospective employer of your desire to be part of the company.
A Few More Reminders
In your opening salutation, it’s best to specify the name of the manager or the potential employer instead of just using “Dear Sir or Madam” or “To Whom It May Concern”. It’s also a good idea to use a conversational style of writing rather than the formal writing style. While you want your letter to be engaging, be careful not to sound “too casual” so as to lose respect or to lose professionalism. Do not use slang words or jargon. Last but not least, take the time to check the correctness of your cover letter. See to it that it does contain grammatical or typographical error which can hurt your image as a candidate.