What is a Cover Letter – How to Write a Cover Letter.

From my survey while communicating with job seekers on BBM, one of the most widely asked questions is : “What is a Cover Letter”.  I will put you through on this and also show you a sample template which you can always use in applying for jobs.

According to Google, A Cover Letter is defined as “A letter sent with, and explaining the contents of, another document or a parcel of goods.”

A cover letter typically accompanies each CV/resume you send out to provide additional information on why or how you are qualified for the job you are applying for.

Effective cover letters explain the reasons for your interest in the specific job in an organization and identify your most relevant skills or experiences.

Your cover letter could make the difference between obtaining a job interview and having your resume ignored, so it makes good sense to devote the necessary time and effort to writing effective cover letters.
A cover letter should complement, not duplicate, your resume. A cover letter is critical in creating a very good first impression.

Cover letters are generally one page at most in length, divided into a header, introduction, body, and closing

Below is a template/blueprint I have suggested for you in writing your cover letters:

APPLICANT ADDRESS
RECRUITER ADDRESS 

SALUTATION
Dear [insert name of recruiting manager],
BODY
First paragraph: Mention the job you’re applying for and where you found the job listing.
Middle paragraphs: Discuss your qualifications. These paragraphs should be specifically tailored to requirements posted in the job listing. You might also consider including why this specific company interested you in the first place. Limit this section to two to three paragraphs.
Final paragraph: If you are going to follow up in one to two weeks, mention a specific date. If you would prefer to leave the ball in their court, say that you look forward to discussing your qualifications further. Also provide your email address and phone number. Don’t forget to thank them for their time.
CLOSE
Best Regards,
[insert your name]

Also, below is a Sample real world Cover Letter that follows the template above:

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Emeka Taiwo Ahmed
20 Second Ave.
Surulere, Lagos
April 7, 2013
The Human Resource Manager
XYZ Company
123 Central District.
Abuja, Nigeria 
Dear Sir/Madam,
I am interested in the Coordinator position advertised on ABC Media. Given my related experience and excellent capabilities I would appreciate your consideration for this job opening. My skills are an ideal match for this position.
As a professional administrative assistant with excellent research skills, I am eager to contribute my abilities and experience to XYZ Company. Given my extensive training and background, I believe I can help XYZ Company meet its goal of providing only the most accurate and timely information to its clients.  
Please find enclosed my resume and a list of my references. Feel free to call me at 1234567890, to arrange a time to meet. I look forward to hearing from you.
Sincerely,
Emeka Taiwo Ahmed.

I hope this helps. Feel free to ask me any career related questions, whether generic or specific to job search in Nigeria. If I can, I will always answer and post it on this blog for other people to learn from it.

If you are on my BBM list, you can easily ping me your questions. If you are not, I’m sorry I cant accept any more BBM requests(My contact list is full to it’s limit). However, you can contact me via email at info[at]jobzilla[dot]ng

22 Comments

  1. You're the man (Or woman, idk)!

    Your website is really helpful and also very well written and organized. Reading your stuff makes one feel like they are speaking with you in person. And your content is simple and effective.

    Please keep it up.

  2. Thank you very much, I just realised why I have not been getting responses from companies I apply to. God bless you

  3. Please it is very important to salute the hiring manager by name and not merely 'Dear Sir/Madam.This may be the only stand out qualification you may have given your cover letter. Research the organization by going through the company website and get a name. Hiring managers receive hundreds of applications in any job opening. It will be pretty serious and well appreciated to see a cover letter address to him/her personally. Get more of these nuggets from the book 'RULES OF THE HIGHLY EFFECTIVE JOB SEARCH AND CAREER BUILDING' by Philip Okoro.

  4. This is awesome n helpful but my question goes thus: writing the cover letter is it on white paper with ur handwriting and attached with ur CV.? Or u write as if ure sending mails?

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