By Manik Rege

Read: 20 mins.


New to the series? Catch up here!

  1. Make a Job-Search Strategy
  2. How to craft a Killer C.V
  3. Why attach a Cover Letter
  4. DIY your Portfolio
  5. Acing the Interview
  6. How to Resign gracefully


Pick any job-posting from last week. You’ll see at least 30 applications already. The market is brutal. So simply shooting your C.V won’t cut it anymore. To grab the recruiter’s attention, you’ll need to show:

  • You’re more serious than the rest
  • You’re offering something new

Both points can be proven by writing a “cover letter.” Because of its personalized format, this 1-pager helps you stand out, and prove your commitment to the company.

“So old school!” I hear you protest, “Do they even read it? Should I really bother?”

47% of us did not think so. We were too lazy to submit one when we applied our last gig (Jobvite, 2017). So the good news is that you’re not alone.

The bad news? Flip your perspective. And you’ll realize that we just wasted a chance to technically overtake half the crowd with merely 15-20 mins. worth of effort. Case in point, when those hundreds of emails are opened by HR, and one of them has a gem that catches their eye, you don’t want to regret not being the sender.

With that, I welcome to the third episode of our “On The Hunt” blog series: How to write a Cover Letter. Let’s begin!


Your cover letter can be in the form of:

  1. An A-4 PDF attachment
  2. Or as the main text in your email’s body.

I do both, in case either one is overlooked. That means I make a PDF version but also copy the text into my email body.

Sharad

For designing the PDFs, you can pick from my Canva templates. Or explore Freepik’s collection. Whichever design you choose, try to incorporate the brand’s logo and official colors into your page to make it more relevant to the target company.

For the content, follow this format:

X Element Content Example
A Subject (only for emails) FOR _____: Why _____ should hire _____ for _____ : City Year FOR MINAL KHAN: Why Lazada should hire Manik for Social Media: KL 2020
B Recipient (only for PDFs) To, _____ (Position), Company, City/Country To, Minal Khan (HR Manager), Shopee, Mumbai
C Greeting Hello ____ & team! I hope you had a good week/weekend.
D Purpose I’m writing in to apply for the role of ________, starting from “Month + Year” I’d like to apply for the role of social media Sr. Executive, starting April 2020
E Body (Discussed in detail ahead)
F CTA Ask for an interview. State 3 suitable dates/dates + time slot. I’d love to discuss more on my ideas in person, and hope we can catch up for an on-site interview. Will you be available anytime on Monday or Tuesday next week?
G Signature Yours in growth, Name + WhatsApp + LinkedIn + Website/Blog

 

All these elements can actually be condensed into 5 main parts:

  1. Recipient
  2. Greeting + Agenda
  3. Pitch
  4. CTA
  5. Signature

Let’s look at each of the five parts of the content structure in detail.


1. Recipient

Firstly, you should always target your message to a specific employee. This increases your chances of getting read. Because seeing one’s name in the subject line naturally makes one curious about the content.

Five minutes of LinkedIn surfing can get you info on the:

  • Human Resources Manager
  • Lead for your Team (marketing, IT, etc.)
  • CEO or co-founder
  • Senior Management (VP, GM, Director, etc.)

In any case, do NOT use generic recipients. They show lack of awareness:

❌ To whomsoever concerned

❌ To the Hiring Manager

❌ To the HR Department


2. Greeting & Agenda

Secondly, start the body by greeting your team with star-like enthusiasm. Ask them how their weekend was, or if you’re in a festive season, reign in the wishes.

Then state which position/team (+ level) you’re applying for when you can start, and your preferred location. Nothing’s more irritating than reading a vague essay without getting the agenda.

Next, we’ll be getting into the main crux of the letter. Flip to continue reading.