How to write an effective cover letter

Posted at 18 May 2022

Whether you are submitting a CV for your first job out of university or for your tenth job, it is always important to include a cover letter. A well-written and effective cover letter can set you apart from other applicants and may even be the deciding factor in whether or not you land an interview.

Do you really need one, especially if you apply through an online application system where simple quick job applications do not ask for one? Fed IT experts answer all your questions today.

How do you write a cover letter? The experts’ opinion

The first question we ask ourselves is: should we even write a cover letter? The answer is almost always yes. There may be times when you submit your application online and you are not able to include a cover letter, but, if possible, still find a way to send one. Even if you apply for a job spontaneously, you should still include a cover letter with your CV, even if you have no IT experience as the cover letter is what gives your application more context.

In a competitive job market, it is essential to stand out. You only have one chance to write a cover letter and make yourself memorable to the human resources department. In order to land yourself an interview, an effective cover letter alongside a CV is vital.

6 tips for writing a cover letter

As anyone who has ever written a cover letter knows, it's not easy to get it right. So here are some tips to help you find one of the most in-demand IT jobs.

1. Do your research

You must do your research on the company that you want to apply for. Learn more about it by reading its website, following its Twitter or LinkedIn accounts and contacting a member of Human Resources if necessary. For instance, you could drop an email or message asking a question related to the job to the company’s Human Resources team via LinkedIn.

You could use this interaction as a way to start your letter. Of course, sometimes you may not be able to contact someone, or you may never hear back, but it's worth a try!

By doing this research, you’ll be able to personalize your cover letter when writing it. It’s really important not to just send a generic cover letter. Think about the company’s culture and how you align with its values and then effectively bring these keywords and ideas into your letter.

2. Focus on the future

While your IT CV is supposed to focus on your experience and background, your cover letter should focus on the future and what you want to do and bring to the company.

The cover letter is your chance to shine. Think of it as an opportunity for you, the candidate, to not just transcribe your work history, but to explain why you would be a good fit for their company. Think of it as an opportunity to sell your transferable skills. You can then add a sentence or two about your background and relevant experience, but do not just repeat your CV.

If you have a personal connection to the company or to someone who works there, mention that in the first sentence or two as well. And always address your letter to someone directly.

3. Include your selling points

The recruitment process is a competitive one and no company can afford to hire someone unsuitable. Therefore, to stand out from the other candidates, you need to demonstrate your knowledge of the company and some of the challenges it faces by sharing all your research on these topics.

At Fed IT, we believe that two skills are relevant to almost every job right now: adaptability and the ability to learn quickly. If you have brief examples that demonstrate these skills, include them in your letter.

4. Be enthusiastic

If you aren’t hired, this is generally not because you lack any skills in particular. It’s because the prospective employer didn’t believe your story, that you wanted the job or that you even knew what the job really entailed.

The hiring team want to choose a candidate who makes them believe that the job in question is the job of their dreams. Make it clear why you want the job. Enthusiasm conveys personality.

Don't bother applying if you're not excited about some aspect of the company or the position. At the same time, don't overdo the flattery and don't say things you don't mean. Authenticity and accuracy in what you say are crucial to knowing how to write an effective cover letter.

5. Be efficient

Most of the advice given says that your cover letter should not exceed one page. But it is perfectly possible to write a shorter cover letter. It should be brief enough that someone can read it at a glance. Even though you need to cover a lot of ground, you should try to do it succinctly.

6. What to do when you can’t send a cover letter

Many companies now use online application systems that do not always let you submit a cover letter. You may however be able to find a way to include one in the same document as your CV. However, sometimes this is not an option as some systems only allow data to be entered into specific boxes.

In this case, make sure that you use the format given to you to demonstrate your ability to do the job and your enthusiasm for the role. If possible, try to find someone to whom you can send a brief follow-up email highlighting a few key points about your application.

How to write a cover letter: put your confidence in FedIT

A well-written cover letter would help you promote your application, increase your chances of getting an interview, and prepare you for a potential interview. An effective cover letter will make it much easier to demonstrate your strengths during an interview.

Take the time to follow our guidance above so you can show your potential employer how strong a candidate you are and learn what to say and what not to say during an interview. Also, check out all our IT jobs on our website.

Contact our specialists at FedIT if you want any more advice on finding a job. They’ll be able to answer all your questions regarding IT recruitment.