Your ultimate guide to writing a great cover letter

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A great cover letter shows a job seeker's unique story (Shutterstock.com)

Cover letters are crucial to introducing who you are, and detailing why the HR manager should shortlist your CV and consider you for the job. Here's how to get a cover letter right: 

Never repeat your CV in your cover letter

Lots of people assume that a cover letter is just a short repetition of your CV – not true! When you send your CV and cover letter off, your cover letter will be in the body of the email. If it’s not interesting enough the recruiter won’t think twice of moving on to the next applicant. Your cover letter should show your positivity, personality and your interest in the position. Think of the industry you’re applying to and demonstrate your expertise and genuine interest in the field.

Read: How to increase your chances of being hired

Less is more

Keep your cover letter short – three paragraphs max and no longer than half a page. Forget long winded sentences. Keep it interesting and to-the-point. Recruiters and hiring managers still have your whole CV to get through. The cover letter should just convince that they want to read it.

Address someone, but keep it general 

If you don’t know who you should address your cover letter to, simply say, “To whom it may concern” and get right into your introduction.  

Read: Cover letter failures

Your cover letter should be the body of your email

When you apply for a job vacancy, you should never leave the email body blank. That is your space to let recruiters know why they should open your CV and consider you for the job.

Never use the phrase below 

“My name is ___, and I am applying for the position as ____”. Recruiters and hiring managers already know these things. Cut right to the chase and avoid unnecessary phrases that make for extra reading. 

Craft a strong conclusion

Don’t start your closing line with “In conclusion”; it’s not a high school essay. Finish your cover letter off quickly. Simply explain why your experience will help you get the job done. Make sure the closing paragraph is no longer than two or three lines.

Good luck!