How to right a winning cover letter

Updated: Aug 10, 2021

So you have recently graduated? As a new graduate, you have a decent shot of landing yourself a job if you are aggressive in your search. A well-rounded cover letter should be part of your strategy to setting yourself apart. Our career experts’ highly recommend that you customize your recent cover letter for each position you’re applying to maximize your chances of being noticed and considered for an interview. Here’s how you can do this.

1. Research to understand the Employer and Company

Yes, sending the same cover letter to too many companies saves you time in the short-term time but decreases your chances of getting a job – customizing your cover letter for each application will help you stand out from pack.

Do some background research of the company and learn about their business needs and company culture, social media these days is a good place to start. Think of how you will meet those needs once you are hired. This approach will show that you care about the organization.

Highlight your passions, knowledge, experience and personal interests to the hiring manager in relation to a specific role. This is why it is of importance to customize your Cover letter to highlight specifically why you are the ideal candidate.

2. Sell Yourself

Avoid the temptation of “begging” for the job or opportunity. Rather, explain why you’ll be an asset to the company if hired. Point out your attributes to the organization, why your application should be considered and why you think you’re a perfect match. Stick to the facts and really think of how having you will add value to the company or the hiring manager.

3. Address the Letter to Someone, Do not make it generic

Try your best and address the hiring manager by name instead of the usual ‘Dear Sir/Madam’ salutation.

Our marketing manager always says people buy based on emotions, it is important that you make an individual connection with the hiring manager in your letter (usually their name will be on their email address or if the name is not given you can call and ask their reception desk who the hiring manager is. Social media is also a great source for finding a person’s name and surname so you can personalize your cover letter.

4. Show Passion and Devotion

Communicate that you’re really interested in the position and the type of work the company is doing. Show how you have grown professionally in order for you to fulfill the role being advertised. For example, if you want an opportunity at a five-star hotel, highlight how you have worked part-time at a small boutique hotel over weekends while you were studying. It is important that you get as much work experience as you possibly can while still in school, experience will set you apart from the rest of the part as a new graduate.

Passion and inspiration are big selling points. In your cover letter, elaborate on one or two real-life experiences, interests and passions indicating how your ideas are aligned with the company’s business goals and vision.

5. Focus on Activities, Tasks, and Responsibilities

While drafting your recent tertiary graduate cover letter, you need to emphasise the abilities and skills that make you an ideal candidate. Avoid focusing on your grades. Rather, shed light on activities and duties (e.g. internships, learnerships, volunteer work or leadership roles held in school). This will not only show that you are a competent as a student but will also illustrate that you have real-world working experience.

6. Edit, Format and Proofread your Cover Letter

Read through your letter, do this at least 5 times, fixing any mistakes or grammatical errors. Step away from it and go back and read it again. Remember to use simple language that is easy to understand. Your letter should be brief and to the point. Find a mentor or friend to look at your cover letter (and CV) before submitting it.

A recent graduate cover letter should follow a formal business letter format. Start the letter with your name, address, phone number and email address on the upper right of the page together with the date that you send the letter.

The devil is in the details! Before sending your cover letter and CV, ensure that the hiring managers’ name, company name and their job title are spelled correctly.

If you need help brushing up your cover letter and CV - check our services tab and have one of our professionals upgrade yours to better your chances at securing that interview.

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