Adulting 101: How to write a good cover letter (and why it’s important)

Steph Arnaldo
Adulting 101: How to write a good cover letter (and why it’s important)
Hoping to get hired? Tip #1: Don't attach your resume to an empty email. Cover letters are very important!

School’s out, graduation’s done, and job hunting season is in. The break may mean summer vacation for most, but for fresh graduates itching to #adult ASAP, it’s the season of rush resumes and mass CV sending. 

For HR departments, this is probably their busiest period yet – full email inboxes, countless LinkedIn messages from inquisitive new grads, and an influx of applications. 

And yet, applicants still send over completely blank emails attached to their resumes.

Come on guys, it’s 2019.

Believe it or not, applicants do still send over their resumes to their dream employers attached to an email with no body text and no subject.

And here’s the tea: no matter how impressive your resume is, chances are, it won’t even be given the time of day.

The lost art of cover letters: What’s its purpose? 

Fresh and not-so-fresh grads need to keep in mind that first impressions are very important, and that they last.

Even before an interview, your cover letter alone is a possible foot in the door. So, if that email is null, so are you in an employer’s eyes.

If you think that your glowing resume can speak for itself, it might – but not always. Yes, that hefty list of accomplishments and experiences is something to be proud of, no doubt, but it is what it is: a list. It doesn’t reflect your personality, your voice, and even your attitude – and these are important aspects employers need to scope as early as possible, too. Your cover letter gives life to the list.

Think of it like a first date – you gotta grab the attention of the opposite party right away and keep them interested or you can kiss that second date goodbye.

Elements of a good cover letter

A short but sweet cover letter is like an introvert’s dream conversation – concise, authentic, captivating, substantial, and not at all dragging. 

This is the first thing employers will read about you, so a few catchy sentences should be enough to let them know a bit more about yourself and what you can specifically bring to their table. 

Of course, it’s always best to stay real and sincere, and not to sound like a copy-pasted template. However, some guidelines won’t hurt – such as starting your cover letter by introducing yourself properly. After greeting your recipient, your whole name should follow. Your degree and university can also be mentioned, but not necessarily.

Next, indicate your purpose. Why are you emailing? State the company name and the specific position you’re interested in applying for (this can apply to your email subject as well).

Afterwards, briefly summarize your skill set, interests, relevant work experience and values that are vital to the position you want. What you want employers to know is the why behind your desire – why are you applying? What added value can you contribute to the company? This crucial section is where employers can gauge your compatibility with the company and said position.

Lastly, end your cover letter with a clear call to action. After indicating what documents you’ve attached to the email, let your potential employer know how they can contact you as soon as possible – don’t forget to leave your email address and cellphone number.

Now go and click that send button and wish for the best! – 

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Steph Arnaldo

If she’s not writing about food, she’s probably thinking about it. From advertising copywriter to freelance feature writer, Steph Arnaldo finally turned her part-time passion into a full-time career. She’s written about food, lifestyle, and wellness for Rappler since 2018.