5 Tips for Mastering the Art of Cover Letters

By Teboho Polanka

Photo by Aaron Burden on Unsplash
Photo by Aaron Burden on Unsplash

Back to our focus on mastering the art of cover letters. The whole idea behind our concerted effort in this regard is to help you stand out. You’re in a race here and only those who run according to rules will win, if they out compete the rest.

The terrible tendency is that most people use one letter to apply for all job openings because it worked at one time. The laziness of thinking creatively about job hunt has ensnared a great majority. Unless you become serious in your job search, hiring managers will not be about you. Why should they?

You should at all times think of yourself as the employer, and go through your letter to see if you could employ yourself with its outlook. For this piece let’s take a step further into nitty-gritties of mastering the art of cover letters.


Don’t use standard openings

Isn’t it amazing, many people use the very openings we were taught back in high school and hope to impress prospective employers. “I hereby wish to apply…” is so common most hiring managers won’t even take a liking at your letter.

Your letter will only get you that job if it stands out from those of your competitors. A lot of people have a wrong understanding about the business world, you don’t get hired because you follow standards but because you clearly stand out. You articulate yourself well.


“KISS” your letter (Keep It Simply Stated)

Your letter should indeed be professional, but at the same time interesting and informative. Supposedly using business jargon and clichés won’t be fruitful if your letter isn’t appealing and reflecting something of your personality.

“I am a Mosotho man or woman…blah blah.” is overrated. By simplicity we don’t mean to be predictable and monotonous. Show some creativity. Use the tone you would if called for an interview.


Do focus on the needs of your prospective employer

Your resume is about you and your capabilities. You focus on yourself throughout, but for cover letters focus on the needs of your employer. In this case you match your CV to the needs of your employer. Show the employer how you’ll contribute towards the success of their businesses or projects.


Make your letter easy to read

The presentation of your letter maybe even more important as the content itself. Make it easy to skim through. Hiring managers may spend 30 seconds on your letter if it catches their attention. So be smart about how you present your case.

Appealing letters are more important than those informed by difficult to scan. Remember many applications are received with yours, so no one will want to waste their time on trying to read yours.


Don’t be Dishonest

Don’t exaggerate, lie or mislead in your letter. The tendency is to say too much or too little about one’s self. Be smart, don’t say you’re capable of what you’re not. And don’t be afraid to say you have what you have. Don’t risk dishonesty, it’ll land you an immediate dismissal.

Let’s get you that job.