Being a writer/VA with multiple jobs, I have been asked numerous times about how to write a good cover letter. Should it be long? How should you greet a potential client? Can you just use a template?
As a VA, one of my tasks is screening applicants. I am in charge of assessment and interview each time our company needs additional personnel. The sad fact is most of the time, out of ten cover letters, only one grabs my attention.
But anyone can write a cover letter, right? Yes, but not everybody knows how to write a good cover letter that nails the job. Because if everyone can, then why do some people have more than enough jobs while others fail to land a single one?
Remember that next to your online profile, your cover letter is the only thing that shows a client who you are and what you can do. And here’s a thing to consider: You only have one chance to prove yourself, so do the best that you can.
How to Write a Good Cover Letter: Things to Consider
Thoroughness is key
Don’t just scan the job post. Take your time. Read the details. What does the job entail? Is it something you’re capable of? If not, can you learn fast? If neither, then you’d better look for other job posts because you have very slim chances of being hired. And take note of this: sometimes, a client puts a specific code (word, phrase or problem you have to solve). Be very aware of that. It shows how well you follow instructions.
Regardless of what others might say, I still believe in being polite in my cover letters. It doesn’t mean that you have to address the hiring manager as sir/madam. If the client’s name is given, then use that. I prefer to start my cover letters with Dear, followed by the client’s name. Old school but it works for me.
Keep the gory details to yourself
Just introduce yourself briefly – your name, what you can do, and why you believe you are the best person for the job. There’s no need to tell your life story. The client will hire you based on what you can bring to his table, not on the number of your heartaches.
Short is not always best
Especially if you are applying for a writing or VA job. Answer the client’s questions thoroughly. This is your chance to showcase yourself. Don’t be shy – your confidence must show in every word you write. State why he should choose you. Did you have a similar project in the past? How well did you perform? Were you able to contribute to its success? Don’t brag. It’s too distasteful.
Don’t forget to thank the hiring manager before you close. I always include a brief “Thank you for your time,”. Why? Aside from being polite, it shows that you value his time too.
End your cover letter with confidence
Think positive! You’ve managed to engage the hiring manager this far. Don’t lose it by saying “I hope to hear from you soon”. That’s just too lame, after all the building-up you did for the entirety of your application letter. Insinuate that your lovely cover letter warrants an interview. Let him know that you are ready to be interviewed at a time that’s most convenient for him.
And don’t forget to edit and revise your cover letter prior to submission. Spelling and grammar matters especially if you’re applying to Writer/VA jobs. Not good at grammar but want to apply to other job categories like Graphic or Web Design? No worries – there are free tools out there that can check your work. Check out Grammarly and Reverso.
Want to have an idea as to how I write a good cover letter? Just write “Please send me two samples of your cover letter” in the comments box belowto, like The Youthful Granny VA’s FB Page and I’ll gladly send them to you.