As simple as it seem, writing a Cover Letter could sometimes be daunting. While your Curriculum Vitae (CV) contains details an employer needs to determine your qualification for a job interview, your Cover Letter will influence the prospective employer’s willingness to see your CV.
What is a Cover Letter?
A Cover Letter, as the name implies, is a Letter that accompanies (covers) another document, in this context, your CV. The cover Letter is used to introduce yourself and to convince the employer of your suitability for the position you are applying for. Please note that the Cover Letter is not meant to re-state the content of your CV, it simply offers some new information and highlight the skills and experiences you have that are relevant to the position you are applying for.
A Cover Letter is also an avenue to give your prospective employer a first impression of your writing capability; and it should be simple, succinct, and accurate. Cover Letters are to be typed, except otherwise stated by the employer who may request an hand-written one, most times to see your handwriting, especially if the position requires handwriting skills.
Objectives of a Cover Letter
Firstly, the Cover Letter is meant to introduce who you are, the position you are applying for, and how you got the vacancy information. Secondly, it is to explain to the employer why you are the most suitable candidate for the position by explaining your qualification, skills, and experience. Thirdly, the Cover Letter should be a call to action, whereby you request for an interview or an opportunity to discuss further on the vacant position.
Types of Cover Letter
You may use your Cover Letter to apply for a job; in which case it becomes an APPLICATION LETTER, which you send in response to a job opening you are already aware of. A Cover Letter could also be used to SPECULATE for a job, in which you are hoping that the organization has job openings or a quest for the organization to call you once there is a position that suits the content of your CV.
Below is a sample of an Application Letter:
Mr. Chuma Mohammed,
25 Omodada Street,
March 27, 2013
The Human Resource Manager,
555 Consulting Limited,
APPLICATION FOR THE POST OF MANAGING DIRECTOR – REF: 555/CON/MGD/ABJ
I am applying for the position of Managing Director, which was advertised in The Guardian Newspaper of Thursday, March 27, 2013.
In 2008, I obtained a Bachelors degree in Business Management having graduated with a First Class from the prestigious University of Abuja, Nigeria; and I recently graduated from the prominent University of London, UK having bagged a Masters in Business Administration. With my skills, strengths, and vast experience in several strategic leadership and management positions, a strong knack for excellence, consistent growth, and people management; coupled with numerous national and international management trainings; I believe I will be a suitable candidate for this position. My CV is enclosed for more information.
I believe that a challenging environment and award-winning consulting firm such as yours will provide an excellent opportunity for me to best utilize my skills while contributing to the overall growth of the firm.
I can be reached by email on: email@example.com or my mobile phone: 0803 111 1000. While I thank you for your time and anticipated consideration, I look forward to discussing with you and/or your recruitment team on this job opening.
Below is a sample of a Speculative Letter
29 Jejelaiye Crescent,
One Man Village, Abuja.
July 4, 2012
Mr. Rotimi Olawale,
Youth Hub Africa,
Dear Mr. Olawale,
I write with the anticipation of a job opening that suits my experience and skills in your organization, having since nursed the ambition of working in a high profile, dynamic, progressive, and reputable firm as YouthHub Africa.
As depicted in my enclosed CV, I am a Project Manager with vast experience in developing project frameworks and managing field projects for several international and national Non-Government Organizations. I have successfully undertaken a number of tasks and responsibilities in this profession including initiating, planning, documentation, monitoring, and evaluation of both small and huge projects.
It is my belief that if considered for a suitable position, my skills and experience will be of great benefit to your organization, and I will be an ideal fit. My past employers have commended my reliability, excellence, integrity, attention to details, commitment, punctuality, adaptability, good team player, and ability to take initiative.
I will look forward to an opportunity to discuss further on my CV, my abilities, and what I can offer your organization in moving it forward; however, if you do not currently have a suitable vacancy, I would be grateful if you contact me when one arises.
You may contact me on my mobile number: 0805 200 1111; or by email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
*Please note that the sample letters are only provided for guidance and not guaranteed for accuracy or legality.
So, whether it’s an Application or a Speculative Letter, endeavor to demonstrate what every employer wants to know, especially in relation to the job you are applying for, yet avoid too much details or exaggeration. Some basic ones include letting the employer know you are smart, you can get things done; and that despite your experience (or none), you are adaptable enough to fit into their corporate culture.
Bukky Shonibare is the Group CEO of “The 555 Group” owners of 555 Consulting Limited (Human Resource Management, Operations Management, and Strategy); 555 Foods (owners of ‘Beans City’); 555 Impact Centre (Training & Development); and 555 Foundation (Corporate Social Responsibility with focus on promoting Entrepreneurial Development, Personal Development, and Poverty Alleviation).Bukky has a Certificate in Journalism and Creative Writing from the London School of Journalism, UK; Diploma in Secretarial Administration; and dual Certificates in Entrepreneurial Development and Social Sector Management from the Pan African University, Nigeria. Read her full profile here
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