Writing a cover letter for the first time can be stressful. On this page, we will guide you through the process of writing a cover letter that will enable you to stand out from the other candidates and be admitted everywhere.
The cover letter is a document - usually - one page, used to describe why you are the most suitable candidate for a given job. It is usually attached to the CV, or employment application.
You will be asked to write a cover letter in these cases:
- When applying to be admitted to a college or university (undergraduate or postgraduate program);
- When applying for a scholarship;
- You are applying to work in an organization or company;
- You are applying to work as a volunteer in an organization;
- You are applying for an internship or traineeship for a particular job.
So why exactly do cover letters matter? In fact, many organizations or companies are looking for people who want to be there and are excited about what they are doing.
How to structure a cover letter?
A cover letter is usually no more than one page, where you introduce yourself, you convey your story, and show interest in the position or place where you are applying.
There are two main ways to structure your cover letter:
- Using the classic 3-paragraph structure, where your letter has the introduction, content and conclusion.
- Using the structure of paragraphs 5-7, where you divide the content into several sentence paragraphs according to the main points.
For any structure you decide, it should consist of 3 main parts:
- content, and
Here is what you need to include in each of them:
Introduction: A short, engaging sentence about yourself and why you are applying
Here you can include:
- Personal information. Who are you and what do you do?
- What are you applying for? Where?
- An introduction to your essay. Mention the general reason why you are applying, and then dive deeper into the main body of your cover letter.
An example introduction for cover letter
Dear [Name of Contact Person],
I am [Your Name] and I hereby express my interest in applying for the Doctoral Program in Political Science at [University Name]. I have always dreamed of working in the academic field and helping my country upon return to Kosovo, and I believe that the political science program from [Department Name] would help me move forward to achieve my vision.
Content of the Cover Letter
This is the main part of your cover letter. This is the part where you sell yourself, mentioning the story behind your accomplishments, skills, and passion for everything you are looking for.
Try to be as factual as possible. When applicable, you may also use data to support your qualifications.
Here is a practical example:
I developed my passion for online marketing during my internship at [company name]. Working in a small start-up enabled me to gain beginner-level experience in most digital marketing channels. Now, I want to gain advanced knowledge by participating in the [university name] program in Digital Marketing.
In this part, you can finalize the cover letter and send it. In this section, you can:
- Briefly summarize your main points;
- Mention your overarching purpose;
- Thank the reader and wrap up the cover letter.
Now that you know how to structure a cover letter, let’s move on to the content!
How to write a winning letter?
The best way to avoid generalizations and increase the depth of your cover letter is by adapting it to the specific organization and program / position you are applying for:
- When writing a cover letter, you need to make sure you know what and where you are applying;
- Read the program requirements or criteria on the listing and the institution's website.
- Find the three main requirements for the position and explain how you are the best candidate.
Your cover letter should indicate that you really want to work or study there. Show specific reasons, demonstrate knowledge, and express passion to apply to that institution or organization.
If you write any untruths, your reader will understand it. Unconsciously, we inflate feelings and ideas when we lie. If you tell a false story or exaggerate your achievements, consider that your request was denied.
Questions to answer in your cover letter
What motivated you to apply for this specific position or program?
- I would love to live in [company location] because ________.
- It is my dream to be part of [the name of the program], because _________.
Examples of cover letters
In Kastori we have several Examples of cover letters for different professions that you can download.
Visit the site Cover Letters Examples for more details.