By Lilian Wamaitha
Just how important is a cover letter when making job applications?
There is a certain excitement that you get when you know that you are finishing school and will soon have a job and living on your own and all those dreams that we all have.
However, months down the line, you are yet to land a job let alone an interview.
But before you give up, knowing what you are doing wrong is the first step to taking measures that will land you your first job.
With so much competition, it is very important to sell yourself in your application and most importantly in your cover letter.
Why is this?
Employers only shortlist candidates they feel are serious about the position they are looking to fill.
You have seen an entry level job that you know you will be qualified for but the only problem is that you have no idea how to write a compelling cover letter owing to the fact that you don’t have any work experience.
To put your mind at ease, let me show you how you write a cover letter for fresh graduates with no experience plus a free sample that you can use.
Tips To Writing A Compelling Fresh Graduate Cover Letter
Sometimes the difference between you and that candidate who gets the job is in how you write your cover letter.
Consider these simple tips to writing a compelling cover letter that employers will actually read.
1. Address the hiring manager
The generic Dear Sir/Madam salutation is so 1997 and you should not be using it in today’s job market.
Instead address the hiring manager by name. The one thing you can do is call the company in advance before applying to inquire about who you should address your cover letter to.
Unless it’s a job in the government, a majority of employers take the salutation very serious.
2. Tailor your cover letter to your industry
Seen a new job? Just change the company name and position you are applying for and hit send.
If this describes you, you have been making a mistake.
Using a general cover letter to apply for all jobs not only lowers your chances of being shortlisted but what it communicates is a job seeker who is not serious about the position.
Every position is different because the job description is different. Therefore, it goes without saying that your cover letter should be different as well.
Must Read >>> How To Write A Cover Letter For A Job Application
3. Show that you add value to the company
In order to convince an employer to look at your CV and consider you for the job, you need to show that you will be an asset to the company.
All companies hire to benefit themselves so if you want to get a chance you need to show them that hiring you will benefit them.
In your cover letter, you need to avoid focusing on how the company will help you grow and instead focus on showing them that you will add value to them.
Obvious Cover Letter Mistakes You Have Been Making
1. Making the cover letter too long
Writing long cover letters is highly discouraged. Ms. Rebecca Karimi, a professional CV writer at Corporate Staffing Services advises to keep your cover letter to a maximum of at least one page.
2. Failing to put the cover letter as the body of the email application
Many Kenyan job seekers attach the cover letter to an email, together with their CVs and other supporting documents.
According to Ms. Karimi, the best way to send out the cover letter is as the body of the email. This makes it easily accessible.
3. Giving Irrelevant accomplishments
Accomplishments are a great asset to any job seeker. However, if they are not used well, they end up being unnecessary information in a cover letter.
Make sure you match the relevant accomplishments to whatever position that you are applying for.
Also, ensure that for every accomplishment you state, you have some supporting evidence.
Sample Cover Letter For Fresh Graduates Without Experience
P.O. Box 58-00100
17th April 2018
The Human Resource Manager,
Wisel Tech & Co.
P. O. Box 675-0100
Dear Sir/ Madam
RE: APPLICATION FOR A POSITION AS A COMMUNICATION ASSISTANT
As a highly motivated and detail oriented individual, I wish to express my interest in the position advertised on your company website for a Communication Assistant. I believe my outstanding interpersonal and public speaking skills that I developed during my course work and attachment at The Ministry of Labour make me stand out as the best candidate for this position.
You mentioned that you are looking for a candidate with graphic design skills and a team player. During my course work and attachment period I was tasked with assignments where I had to make presentations and come up with publications, all of which required I work with teams and learn a new set of skills that I did not have before.
In addition to my Communications and Public Relations degree, I have participated in writing contests through PRSK where I was able to grow both my writing and presentation skills that will come in handy in this position.
Attached please find my CV for your consideration. I look forward to an interview with you where we can discuss the value I will be bringing to your company. You can reach me on this number (give contact).
The Job Seeker
Are you wowing an employer in such a way that they want to meet you in person or is your cover letter just the same as the thousands of others they have gone through? If you are a fresh graduate consider these tips and the free sample to tailor your cover letter for the next job you will be applying for.
All the best.
Lilian is a Communication Officer at Career Point Kenya. Our main agenda is to help professionals better themselves in the job market. If you have any other concerns about writing an application, leave a comment below or email firstname.lastname@example.org.