A cover letter is, together with your curriculum vitae, the visiting card prior to a job interview. The two of them constitute possible reasons for future employers to give you the new job.
Where a CV lists the facts about your skills, personal details, work experience and education, the cover letter provides a more personal note in which you go into greater detail about your motivation for getting the job, how you learned of the job opening and your personal skills that might come in handy in the future position.
Below you’ll find a good example of a cover letter that you can use as a guideline when drafting your own letter.
What elements does a cover letter include?
Although cover letters are ideal for revealing something of your personality, they are generally composed of a number of fixed items that recur in every letter, because the structure is particularly important: many employers attach value to a tight pattern in which they can immediately find the most vital information. The structure of an objectively strong cover letter thus looks like this:
- Your address
- The address of the company to which the letter is being sent
- The place of residence and the date
- A ´re´ line, followed by the reason for writing the letter (this rule only applies for a letter in paper form: with e-mail we use the subject line for this)
- The salutation
This is followed by:
- An opening
- A paragraph about yourself
- A paragraph about your skills
- A paragraph about your motivation
- A closing
At the bottom of the text you find these two elements:
- Other remarks
The part with the names and addresses is not subject to changes. In the letter itself you might, in terms of sequence, play with the three different paragraphs.
Example of a cover letter
Below is an example of a cover letter.
via [name the source here] I learned of the job opening for [name of position] on behalf of [name of company]. Are you still looking for someone for this position? Because if so, I believe that I am the right person to fill it.
My name is [fill in your name here], I am [age] years old and come from [place of residence or birth]. Since completing my studies [name field of study] and earning my degree I have been busy preparing to enter the job market. My attention was drawn to this outstanding position. The job is ideal for me in order to gather new experience while at the same time demonstrating what I can do.
I would describe myself as an enthusiastic worker who is assertive and creative, as well as being a highly verbal person with a rich vocabulary. I like to work independently, but can also function well in a group context. In addition, I have an excellent command of Dutch and English, both written and spoken. I approach the most wide-ranging activities with enthusiasm, a healthy dose of creativity and an intellectual streak.
This position particularly appeals to me because I love to [name several personal motives]. In addition, the work seems similar to activities that I have done earlier, including [name earlier activities]. I also find the independent character of the job attractive: I prefer to work flexibly and like to discuss the possibilities.
If you think that I might be of value for [name of company], then I would of course be delighted to discuss this letter and the attached curriculum vitae in greater detail during a personal interview.
I look forward with interest to your response!
[first and last name]