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Cover Letter

One of the most important aspects of the job application process

What is a Cover Letter?

A cover letter is an integral part of the job application process. It accompanies the resume or curriculum vitae and introduces the applicant and tells the recruiter why he or she is the best fit for the job. Often, the cover letter is only a page long, and it is written in a formal but pleasant tone.


Cover Letter


Is it necessary to send a cover letter?

This question is always being debated upon but the answer is “yes”, even if the recruiter or employer didn’t specifically ask for one. It can be tempting to skip writing a cover letter because of the presence of the resume but including a cover letter can increase one’s chances of getting hired.

A resume can sometimes be rather boring, as it is purely text and bullets. The cover letter can catch the recruiter’s attention, helping the applicant take a step forward in the application process.


Basic elements of a cover letter

A cover letter is like most other types of business letters, except that it contains certain parts that are not found in other letter types. Generally, it includes all of the following:


1. Contact information

This is one of the most important parts of the cover letter because it is the header of the letter and contains the applicant’s contact information so that the employer can easily reach him or her.


2. Salutation

The salutation should be formal and straightforward. For example, one can write “Dear Mr. Frank L. Smith” or “Dear Ms. Emily Sill.”


3. Body of the letter

As the cover letter is only a page long, it can contain just two or three paragraphs.

  • Paragraph one should introduce the applicant and explain the reason behind the letter and note the specific job being applied to.
  • Paragraph two should support the application and explain why the applicant is the best choice for the job. In order to avoid being redundant, the letter should just summarize or interpret the resume.
  • Paragraph three should express gratitude to the employer for taking the time to read and consider the applicant’s information. It can also include when and how the applicant will follow up in the coming days.


4. Complimentary close

It can be ‘Respectfully yours’ or ‘Sincerely yours.’


5. Signature

A hard copy of the letter should contain a hand-written signature while an electronic copy can use a digital signature.


Download our free Investment Banking Cover Letter template!


Cover letter for professionals

Cover letters for professionals come in three types, namely the (1) application, (2) prospecting, and (3) networking cover letters. The first one is the most standard type, which is sent with a resume, while the second one is more of an inquiry into any job opening at a prospective company. The third type is not as common as the first two. It is still sent by an applicant to former colleagues, friends, and other contacts to seek their help in getting a job if they know of any openings.


Cover letter for internships

It is much easier writing a cover letter for an applicant with previous work experience. However, it can be challenging for someone who is writing one for an internship because of the lack or absence of any prior work experience.

The good thing is that it is still possible for an inexperienced applicant to sell himself through his cover letter by highlighting any past unpaid jobs, training, seminars, and volunteer work. It can also help to dedicate a paragraph to briefly talking about the applicant’s future goals, which should be in line with the job being applied for.


Is it okay to send an email cover letter?

In today’s age of the information superhighway and electronic correspondence, it isn’t wrong to ditch the traditional paper and brown envelope for the electronic one. Most job applicants today send their cover letters through emails or through social apps such as Twitter and LinkedIn. What is important is that the cover letter retains its formal yet personable tone and provides the same basic elements or parts.


Is it okay to use a cover letter template?

A template is a helpful tool for creating a great cover letter. It helps provide the proper formatting and ensure that all important parts are present.


Tips when using a cover letter

Here are some tips to remember:


1. Choose a template

The internet is home to various cover letter templates, so applicants should choose carefully, bearing in mind the position or the job being applied for and the field or industry where it belongs.


2. Organize the content

The applicant should list everything he wants to include in the cover letter, especially those things that are to be written in the various paragraphs.


3. Rewrite the words

To personalize the letter, it is important to rephrase and use one’s own words.


4. Finalize the letter

With the draft ready, the applicant can now use the template and set the format. The most acceptable font type is Times New Roman with font size 10 to 12 point. Other simple and formal fonts can also be used. Then, finally, save the file into PDF or MS WORD format and it is ready to be sent.


Download our free Investment Banking Cover Letter template!


Additional resources

Thank you for reading CFI’s guide to writing a cover letter. CFI offers the Financial Modeling & Valuation Analyst (FMVA)™ certification program for those looking to take their careers to the next level. To keep learning and advancing your career, the following resources will be helpful:

  • Free Resume Templates
  • How to Address a Letter
  • Resume Power Words
  • When to Use “To Whom It May Concern”

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