Practice makes perfect. That applies generally for letters, reports and essays, and also for a cover letter. Especially if you haven´t written one in a while, it´s definitely a good idea to sit down and compose a few test letters.
Writing your cover letter is the final stage. It should be preceded by a process of self-examination and research on both the company and the position.
Once you have all of this clearly in mind, you´ll find that the writing is no longer so difficult.
The main goal is to convince the other person that you are the best candidate. Selling yourself by emphasising your strengths, but also acknowledging lesser aspects. Before you go looking for a job, it’s good to set down on paper what your qualities are, what ambitions and wishes you have, what your work experience is and what kind of jobs you prefer. When all that´s done, you can start looking for the right job. After all, it makes no sense to apply for a position for which you’re totally unqualified. It would be a waste of effort.
Drafting the cover letter: the layout
For the layout of your letter there are several generally-accepted structures. Via Google you can find models and then it is a matter of selecting the one you like most. For example, on the left side your address, followed by the address of the company and place and date, all under one another. It depends a bit on the type of job you’re applying for, but if it’s a creative job, you can also choose to get imaginative with the layout and the colour of your stationery. This is possible - but don´t overdo it. In any event, makes sure to use pristine, uncreased paper.
Drafting the cover letter: the content
Then comes the content of the letter itself. Write brief sentences of at most 13 words. Avoid technical jargon and words like: become, can, may, want, etc. Divide your letter up into 4 paragraphs, separated by an extra space.
In the first paragraph, tell where you learned of the job opening and why you want to respond to it. Do you want a different job because you’re searching for a new challenge, or are you just looking for a permanent job?
In the second paragraph, indicate why you want this position specifically. What aspects of the job or in the qualifications appeal to you?
In the third paragraph, explain why you’re the best candidate. What are your positive character traits and which aspects from your previous job, interests or hobbies can you use in this one?
In the fourth paragraph, come to a closing sentence in which you express your hope that your letter will lead to an invitation.
Clearly, the second and third paragraphs will be the most difficult to write. Ask yourself what added value you can offer if you are accepted.
Extra points of attention
Try to be creative in your language use. For example, try starting with a catchy opening sentence, something lively that attracts the reader´s attention. And, in your closing sentence, try to pique the reader’s curiosity. Naturally you want to receive an invitation, but add that you can explain even more about your motivation and qualities during an interview.
And last but not least: don´t exaggerate in your letter. Tell it like it is, with emphasis on your positive characteristics. If you don’t have a certain qualification, you might as well say so, but at the same time indicate why you nevertheless believe that you are perfect for this job.