How to Write Amazing English Cover Letters in 4 Simple Steps
So, you’ve listened to the business podcasts and scoured the latest and greatest business apps, but you still need help with your English cover letter writing?
Don’t worry, you’ve come to the right place.
Knowing how to write a cover letter is a practical skill that will help you out massively in your career.
Cover letters are supposed to be short, direct, simple and professional. There’s no need for flashy, big vocabulary words or too much creative writing.
Rest assured, once you get the hang of the basic cover letter outline, you’ll be stunned by how easy it can be to write them.
- 1. Know the Right Writing Style.
- 2. Know What Content to Include.
- 3. Follow this Sample Cover Letter Format.
- 4. Review Your Checklist of Cover Letter Content
1. Know the Right Writing Style.
Keep it simple.
The cover letter is the space to just give your reader the essential facts.
For example, if you’re applying to work at a bank, tell them about your experience with math, finance and customer service. The manager doesn’t need to know about every temporary summer job you’ve had. Save any other important work experiences for your resume or for the interview you’ll definitely get after sending your impressive English cover letter.
Write with strength.
One trick is to use active voice as opposed to passive voice:
Don’t write: “One summer my job was working at a bank where I was a teller.”
Instead, write: “I worked as a teller at a bank one summer.”
You’ve just cut down 14 words to 10 words. Active voice is usually more direct, concise and strong
2. Know What Content to Include.
Be professional, not personal.
Know your audience. You probably don’t know the recipient personally, so there’s no need for personal details or casual writing.
Save the small talk.
Remove any unnecessary details. Your letter should be narrowly focused on the reason you’re writing.
If you’re applying for a job, tell the recipient only about your relevant work experience and what you can offer to their organization as an employee. This isn’t a time to talk about your family, your hobbies or what you like and dislike.
However, don’t try to impress with big words or long sentences. Relax and write about yourself in a natural, but professional, way:
Don’t write: “It is a true and genuine honor to be considered for employment by such a wonderful and distinguished company such as yourself.”
Instead, write: “I am thrilled at the thought of contributing to such a renowned company.”
Stick to “what,” why” and “how.”
If you focus on answering these 3 questions, then it should be easy to stay focused and keep the letter succinct (brief) and relevant.
- You’re mostly answering the question “what do you want?”
- Is it a job in finance? In marketing? Is it a major leadership role?
- You’re being direct. Not rude.
- Why do you want it? Why do you need it?
- Why are you qualified you for the job? Why does the product not work and why do you need a replacement? What was wrong with the first expense report and why do you need your colleague to rewrite it?
- How will you be an asset to this company?
- Give solutions and ideas in your cover letter.
- Be decisive and have strong ideas.
3. Follow this Sample Cover Letter Format.
These days, it’s more likely that your “letter” will be an email. Just in case you’re going to physically send a letter in the mail, it’s important to include the following information.
Your House Number and Street Name
Your City, State, Country, Zip Code
Number and Street Address
City, State, Country, Zip Code
*(If you’re writing an email, skip the addresses and start with the next line instead)*
Dear Mr. or Ms. (Recipient’s Last Name):
My name is (your first and last name) and I am writing because I want to work for your company.
First paragraph content:
- Your experience.
- What you want (which position).
- Why you like the company.
- Why you’re applying.
Second paragraph content:
- How you’re going to make the company better.
- How you’re going to bring value.
- How you’re going to excel in this position.
- Brag about your abilities.
- Help the company understand why they need you.
Closing statements content:
- Say thank you for the opportunity.
- Express your wish for an interview.
Sincerely / Warm regards / Regards,
(press the “return” button on your keyboard 4 times here to add space)
Your name (sign your name just above this printed line if you’re sending a physical letter)
Example Cover Letters
If you’re looking for some inspiration, here are some examples of great English cover letters:
- Recent Graduate: This example from NovoResume shows how to express your interest in a position if you are currently working on your degree, or have recently graduated. It shows that the candidate has an interest in the specific company they are applying for, and describes their past experience in a concise manner.
- Teacher: This letter from MyPerfectResume shows how a teacher may write a cover letter. They focus on their key skills, without writing too much. Again, they make the letter personal by specifying what they like about that particular place of work.
- Career Change: To apply for a role in a different career path to your current role, this letter from TheBalanceMoney is a good example. It focuses on transferrable skills (skills that someone already has that can be applied to a new role) and doesn’t focus on what the candidate lacks. It keeps the key strengths in a bulleted list to keep the letter easy to read.
- Barista: You may be asked to provide a cover letter for all kinds of roles, for example, a barista. This letter from Resume Companion is a concise and impressive summary of the candidate’s skills and experience. It is written in a professional way, while keeping evidence of the candidate’s personality.
- Customer Service: This cover letter for the position of Customer Service Representative from MyPerfectResume is polite and professional, and shows off the candidate’s skills in an easy-to-follow way. It explains both the candidate’s experience in similar roles, as well as general qualities that would make them suitable for this new work environment.
If you want to pick up some relevant vocabulary to use in your cover letters for different industries, you could try using language learning platform FluentU. Through FluentU, you can watch a curated library of authentic English videos about a variety of topics, with dual-language subtitles.
You can then review what you’ve learned with personalized flashcards and quizzes, so you’ll have everything you need to ace your cover letters.
4. Review Your Checklist of Cover Letter Content
Keep the following checklist in mind to review when you’re done with any business letter.
1. Clarity. If the recipient only read my first sentence, will they understand why I’m writing? Did I get to the point right away?
2. Focus. Did I only include relevant information focusing only on the topic of the letter?
3. Originality. Did I offer any solutions or new ideas?
4. Professionalism. Was I polite, straightforward and concise?
If the answer to all of the above questions is “yes,” then you’re ready to send your letter! Be sure to double-check your spelling and grammar one last time before sending it out.
So, there you have it. You’re now fully equipped to take the business world by storm with your writing. Now, go win over some clients and close some deals. Good luck!