Effective cover letters help you to stand out from a crowd of thousands over job applicants. Although the thought of drafting cover letters may be daunting, reviewing samples online can help you in drafting an effective cover letter.

Here are four key attributes of an effective cover letter.

Rationale:

An effective cover letter explicitly states the writer’s intention. For example, if you are searching for a part-time, internship or permanent job position, link your cover letter to the company’s call or advertisement for employees. This reflects prior research done on your part as you apply for that position. An example could be 'I'm writing to express strong interest in the part-time assistant professor position listed in the SMRT's weekly job listings this week.'

Appeal:

Maximise your cover letter's effectiveness by explaining why you're the best candidate for the available position. In your cover letter, state your educational background, work experience, research achievements, languages spoken, technical skills and professional qualities such as punctuality or key attention to details. It is especially effective when you match your skill set with the qualifications and expectations listed in the job description. This ensures your potential employers can clearly identify shared characteristics between you and them. Make use of short and specific examples to support your skills in contrast to long complimentary adjectives which aren't as useful. An example of the sentence would be 'My motivation to boost profits in my last job led to an overall 20 percent increase in sales.'

Unique:

It’s fine to craft a generic cover letter that you'll refer to as a master draft when responding to job postings. It is crucial however to ensure that each letter is specific to a particular job. A good cover letter is targeted to one job at each company. Interweave facts, research and observations about the company to show that you have taken the time to write this unique cover letter. An example would read 'After reviewing your recent successful marketing strategy targeting teen athletes, I have three specific ideas on how to increase effectiveness for next year's campaign.’

Action Call:

An effective cover letter concludes with a decisive call to action. Such a cover letter would attract the employer to pick up the phone and schedule an interview with you. An example would be 'If you'd like to review my resume and work sample materials in person, please feel free to call the number listed below. I look forward to hearing from you.'

For a more straightforward approach, state that you plan to get in touch within a specific time frame to follow up on the job application. Some examples include, 'I plan to get in touch within two weeks to discuss whether you require any additional materials.' Do make the call if you have indicated so.

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