How do I write a professional cover letter?
Writing a convincing cover letter takes some effort, yet with a little help, you will come a long way. Read the tips and tricks below to get inspired by some important do's and don'ts for your cover letter.
Calling in reference to a vacancy
The first step to take is calling in reference to a vacancy. In the Netherlands, it is very common (read: a must!) to do so before you hand in your cover letter. This phone call is usually meant to request additional information (which you can use in your letter) and is also a good way to establish a first means of contact with the employer.
Before calling make sure you are well prepared. You can do so by setting up a small phone script and preparing some smart questions you would like to get an answer to. To help you out, Student Career Services has set up such a script, including several example questions:
Writing a cover letter
Recruiters always start by reading your CV, your cover letter is read afterwards. Your cover letter is meant as a supplement to your CV, for you to provide additional information about yourself, your motivation, knowledge, and skills. Therefore, avoid a repetition of your CV in your letter! A cover letter consists of maximum of one A4 page.
Always address your letter to a specific person
Do not write Dear Sir/Madam or Dear recipient. If it is not clear to whom you can address your letter contact the recruiter beforehand.
Structure of the letter
A cover letter has a fixed structure:
- Say where you found the job advertisement (you can often do this in one sentence).
- Explain why you are applying for this position. Show your enthusiasm for the position and the organization.
- Make it clear why you are suitable for the job.
- End with a strong paragraph in which you indicate that you would like to be considered for an interview.
Student Career Services provides a useful cover letter template which you can use as the basis for your own letter.
Get professional feedback on your letter
Navigate through the model to take your next career step
Please ask Student Career Services for advice.