If you’re applying to different jobs after graduating, you might notice that you are almost always asked to send a cover letter with your CV. The cover letter is a standard requirement in almost any industry.
A cover letter should be between 250 – 500 words and no more than a page long. This is your opportunity to explain why you want to work for a company, why you’re the best candidate out there, and other details that aren’t in your CV. It can also be a great way for you to emphasize parts of your CV and education that are very impressive, which can help employers notice why you are an excellent candidate.
However, if you’re not a native English speaker, it can be difficult to know how to write a really good cover letter in English. Continue reading to find out how you can write the perfect cover letter and get your dream job.
Students who are worried about writing a cover letter in English should remember to keep it simple. After your business English courses, you might be tempted to fill your cover letter with obscure vocabulary or long sentences. However, even native English speakers prefer writing that is simple and easy to understand.
There is no need to use complicated language. It’s more important that the hiring manager can understand exactly what you want to say. As well as this, hiring managers will receive a high number of cover letters, so it’s good if they can read yours quickly.
Another helpful trick you can use after ESL school is to write in the active voice. This is where the subject of the sentence is performing the action. For example, ‘I worked at the front desk’ is in the active voice. The passive voice happens when the subject of the sentence is being acted upon. What does that look like in a sentence? Here’s a comparison of the two:
Active voice: The employees organized the files.
Passive voice: The files were organized by the employees.
In English, the active voice sounds more confident, clear, and direct, while the passive voice sounds unsure and shy. This is why it’s a good idea to use the active voice when writing your cover letter. It’s a small difference, but it will make you sound more confident and in control.
Just like you would when writing your CV, make sure that you research the company and the job description and tailor your cover letter to match it. For example, if the job description says that the perfect candidate should be organized and hardworking, and you have these qualities, it can be a good idea to mention them in your cover letter. You can also include examples of times or jobs where you demonstrated these qualities, so that potential employers can see that you are a good candidate who is perfect for the job.
Lastly and most importantly, make sure to review your cover letter for mistakes! One small spelling or grammar error could affect your entire application. Read it through a few times and check for common grammar and spelling mistakes.
You could even ask a native English speaking friend or teacher to review your cover letter. Having another person read your cover letter can help you discover mistakes you might have missed. This way, you’ll know that when you do send your cover letter, it does not contain mistakes that could affect your application.
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