Cover Letter Guide: Writing a Proper Cover Letter

The importance of cover letter when applying for jobs cannot be over emphasized, it carries almost same importance as your resume. Based thousands of applications Ngcareers processes on daily basis we noticed a huge percentage never bothers to include a cover letter in their job application (even when there is room to add this). You may not know, but lack of cover letter may be costing you the opportunity to get a job interview. When applying for job online, not including a cover letter may be costing you the chance for your CV to be even looked at! When you send an application through email or our site, the cover letter is displayed in the recruiter’s email while your CV is attached to the same email. If your cover letter is convincing, the next step is for the employer to download your resume/CV and then shortlist you, but when your cover letter is poor or not present your application is likely to be skipped. That’s how it works!

Now you know, don’t submit your next application without a properly written cover letter. Ensure you make no grammatical mistakes or tell lies in you cover letter.

Below is a cover letter guide/format that enumerates information you need to include in the cover letter you submit with your resume.

I advice you use the information below as a guideline to create customized cover letters.

Cover Letter Guide/Format

1) Contact Information
The first thing/section in your cover letter should include your contact information and the employer’s contact address if you have that (Note if you don’t have the employer contact information just list only yours.

Your Contact Details
Your Name
Your Address
Your City, State, Zip/Postal Code
Your Phone Number
Your Email Address
Date

Employer Contact Details
Name
Title
Company
Address
City, State, Zip Code

2) Salutation
The next thing after contact information is salutation.

Dear Mr./Ms. Last Name:

3) Body of Cover Letter
The body of your cover letter is where tell the employer what position you are applying for, why the employer should select you for an interview, and how you will follow-up.

First Paragraph:
The first paragraph of your letter should include information on why you are writing.
Mention the position you are applying for. Include the name of a mutual contact, if you have one. Be clear and concise regarding your request. Convince the reader that they should grant the interview or appointment you requested in the first paragraph.

Middle Paragraphs:
The next section of your cover letter should describe what you have to offer the employer. Make strong connections between your abilities and their needs. Mention specifically how your skills and experience match the job you are applying for. Remember, you are interpreting your resume, not repeating it. Try to support each statement you make with a piece of evidence. Use several shorter paragraphs or bullets rather than one large block of text.

Final Paragraph:
Conclude your cover letter by thanking the employer for considering you for the position. Include information on how you will follow-up. State that you will do so and indicate when (one week’s time is typical).

4) Complimentary Close:
Here you close your letter and include your name and signature.

Yours faithfully,

Signature: Handwritten Signature (for a mailed letter) – Typed Signature (for online – usually your name)

Photo credit: fanpop.com

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About Andy

Andy is the co-Founder of Ngcareers, Nigeria's Top Job Search and Career site. You can follow him on twitter via @andychukse

18 Comments

  1. igwe Johnson says:

    where will i post my cover letter.

    • ngcareers says:

      On the job application page, simply type or paste your cover letter in the space provided while applying for job on Ngcareers.

  2. Martins says:

    Thanks for your concern. Your write up has been a source of inspiration on how to write cover letter. Kudos to you sir. The only area am still not clear with is d two addresses. Are they going to be on thesame side?. The way u arrange it in your format. Or one address will be in the right and the other will be in d left? Please, I need your reply.

  3. 0luwadare 0lowotirin says:

    Thanks so much for this great piece advice.Pls,i will like this piece to be sent to my e-mail address.God bless always.

  4. Alfred says:

    please..in some cases where i have my Cv in my PC and the employers give out their email to send in Cv,where will i type the Cover Letter,is it inside the mail box.

    • Stellamaris Obomanu says:

      Hello Alfred,

      I totally understand what you mean. I think it is advisable that you do it both ways. For instance if an email address eas given, include your cover letter your CV; let it be the first page of your Cv. That, copy and paste your cover letter on the body of the mail.
      Why you’d ask
      Some times, the body of the mail is enough to capture the heart of the recruiter, so if your catchy cover letter is the first thing he or she sees, you’ll most likely be called for an interview. And if the recruiter did not have enough time to read the body of the mail, he or she will still have another opportunity to read it when the CV is opened.

  5. David says:

    Weldon Mr. Andy, for a good job. But my question is where you are applying online; 1 If you are requested to forward your CV, are you expected to send it with the cover letter even when you were not requested to send it along side with your cover letter?
    2. In Applying for vacancy; in the salutation if you don’t know the name of the recruiting manager,are you expected to use Dear Sir/Madam? Because I have read in other posts that to use Dear Sir/ Madam rather than writing the name of the HR or hiring manager as the case may be is not ideal. Pls help to reply

  6. olushegzy says:

    Thanks for this lovely information. God is your strength.

  7. Abigiel says:

    Thanks for the concern you have shown. My question is this in a situation where someone’s address and the body of cover letter is OK but the issue of offering a job a problem, what actually is the cause, another one is that is cover letter the same thing with application letter?

  8. Nigerian recruiters including Ceos hardly read cover letters. Sometimes in most organizations the sorting is assigned to juniors.

  9. I need a cover letter pls. says:

    Pls I need a cover letter as well as d guide.thank u as I awiat ur message.

  10. abatang says:

    plesse , I need a guide of how to write a cover letter sent to my e-mail

  11. ONATOYINBO JANET says:

    I so much appreciate your guidelines, but if I don’t know the address, or the name of the Hiring Manager of the company I’m applying to( for example: Federal jobs) what can I do?.
    please can I get a written cover letter as a guide for my own.
    I will appreciate it been sent to my mail.
    Thanks in anticipation.

  12. Richard says:

    Thanks this really help

  13. Ohuche chinyere says:

    You guys are doing excellent job here, I really appreciate it. Please more guide on this cover letter. If possible, send a sample of it to my email. Thanks a lot.

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