How to write an excellent Cover Letter

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By Sanday Chongo Kabange

From as early as primary school, most  Zambians learning institutions will always include a component of letter-writing in the curriculum.  Letter-writing may seem a boring subject, but it plays an important role in the workplace. There are several types of letters one may need to write, during the course of one’s career. These include application letters, resignation letters, appointment letters, thank you letters, offer letters and much more.

Since these types of letters carry different content, they are written in different ways. However, the difference in their content does not mean that they do not share some key components. Layout and appearance, for example, are universal components that are found in every letter one writes.

What is a Cover Letter?

When applying for a job, a cover letter should always accompany your CV. The ideal cover letter describes your qualifications, motivation and shows your interest in the job. It should show your best side! This way, you allow the employer to get a brief and positive idea about you.  

In the cover letter, do not repeat the information already listed in your CV but instead, include details such as your experience, ability, skills honed, knowledge gained and information related to a particular job.

The general rule is that an application letter must have three parts namely first, second and closing paragraphs.

The first paragraph elaborates what job you are applying for and why you are interested in that particular job.

The second paragraph highlights your qualifications for the job and your interest in that particular organisation. In this paragraph, applicants may use one or two accomplishments to illustrate the skills and experience they might bring to the company. It is initially a brief personal motivation. Also try to communicate your interest in the job, and express your enthusiasm for their product line or services as well.

The third or closing paragraph shows your interest in meeting with the employer to discuss the requirements of the job and your qualifications. This should not repeat what you said in the second paragraph because that is likely to overload your application letter.

Make an impression!

Be brief, concise and clear. Make an excellent impression so that your employer can have a solid basis to evaluate your abilities for a particular job. 

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