How to write a cover letter correctly
A cover letter is an essay in which the applicant freely declares why exactly he should receive a scholarship, a fellowship, a position, an internship. The correct composition increases the applicant’s chances of being admitted to his favourite university, the student receives a scholarship, the scientist receives research money, and the employee has a job in the company of his choice. This article will teach you how to write the right cover letter to get noticed.
What is a cover letter?
Motivation Letter (MP) is a short story about yourself that is required for applications, scholarships, or masters applications. Depending on the country of the educational institution or the employer, the motivation letter can also be written in English. In 500 words (sometimes less) in free form, you should say:
- Why would you want to study at this university or company?
- why you should choose yourself and not another candidate with the same education and resume;
- what you give to the employer or educational institution;
- what goals did you set for yourself?
Based on a motivation letter, the HR department or admissions committee will decide whom to accept. Therefore, it is important to rethink every step of the composition: from the correctly placed comma to the visual design.
Step 1. Set Goal
Do not start writing until you have answered why you are doing it.
The motivation letter is used to meet the admissions committee for applications to a university or the human resources department for applications. This acquaintance must “sell”. Think about what the recipient of the letter will be interested in.
Step 2. Choose a format
The MP is written in three formats: “yesterday, today, tomorrow”, “I am”, or “what, why, for what purpose”. Let us consider all formats using the example of a motivation letter from an applicant student.
- “Yesterday Today Tomorrow”:
Yesterday what can you do and what skills have you acquired to study at your chosen university;
Why do you want to go to this university today?
Tomorrow what goals do you want to achieve, and how training can help.
- “I, you, we”:
I a description of personal achievements, abilities, interests;
You an analysis of the benefits of the training program;
We know how your skills and curriculum will help you achieve your goal.
- “What, why, for what purpose”:
What do you want to study;
Why this subject and this university;
For what purpose, what do you expect from the chosen program, and how will it help achieve the objectives.
Step 3. Decide how to structure Letter
The MT should fit on one page. The admissions office receives dozens or hundreds of letters. So if a multi-page document falls into your hands, it will most likely not be read. To stay in short essay format, write a structured letter.
- basic structure:
- main part,
This part of the letter has two purposes: to introduce and engage. If, after the performance, you write a topic like: “I dreamed of studying at your university for a long time …” you will not remember it because everyone writes like that.
To get the admissions committee’s attention, start with a story. For example, an applicant writes a letter of motivation to the university for admission to the economics department.
Two important rules:
- Rule 1. Do not lie. It is easy for an experienced person to notice a lie in the text.
- Rule 2. Do not go overboard with creativity; this is an official document.
- Reveals the essence of the message, tests the motivation for admission.
- Tell us about your talents, experience, skills. However, show all the benefits.
Leave a call to action last.
Step 4. Complete Letter
Competent design is an important part of writing a PM. If a university or company requires you to create a document according to the rules, follow them. If there are no strict restrictions, choose the letter from the rest.
Compares two letters with the same text but with different designs. What letter would you read first?
If you are not a Photoshop friend, create a letter in an online editor, such as Canva, that has pre-made templates for your design.
Step 5. Edit and Review
- Leave the letter written for a day, then start editing. The text should not contain: creative introduction;
- grammar and punctuation errors;
- additional events not related to the job or training program;
- complex sentences are better divided into several simple ones;
- repetitions: brevity is the sister of talent;
- banal conclusion.
After processing the letter, postpone it for at least 34 hours and then read it out loud again.
Warning! Do not write your cover letter the last day before departure.
9 tips for better writing
- Do not use caps lock as it will increase the pitch.
- Do not include more than one quote that the reader wants to know about you, not the thoughts of others.
- Write in a formal style, but not too formal. The text should be easy to read.
- A new letter for each university or employer.
- “Sell yourself” in moderation Write about accomplishments related to your major: It does not make sense to tell you you have scored 300 goals for a school football team if you want to work as a programmer.
- Do not joke without knowing who is reading the text.
- Do not capitalize “you” unless you are addressing a specific person.
- Less “I” in the text. You can start a sentence without a pronoun: not “I passed the USE by 100 points,” but “I passed the USE by 100 points.”
- If you do not know what to write, use helpful phrases.
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