The cover letter is fast gaining extraordinary importance in the Indian hiring scene. These days most of the companies expect you to accompany the resume with a cover letter. Thus, getting the cover letter right could make all the difference.

However, if you are doing it for the first time, things could get a bit tricky. In that case, we have all the answers that you seek. Here you will get a complete idea of how to write the cover letter the right way. But before we start, let us understand what cover letters are for.

What is a cover letter?

A cover letter is a piece of document that tells the employer why you are interested in the job and what makes you the right fit. During the non-digital age when job applications were mailed, these application letters were used to 'cover' the resume, hence the name.

Purpose of a cover letter

The purpose of the cover letter is to help you get noticed - plain and simple. While CV's are generally made on templates, a good cover letter will have a fair bit of yourself in it, something that companies are looking for.

What to include in a cover letter?

A well-structured cover letter can increase your chances of getting the job. This makes it imperative that you know what to write in your cover letter.

Let's take a look at the important points to include in the cover letter.

1. Contact information
Make sure that you add your name and contact information in the letterhead. It should be clearly visible in case the recruiter wants to reach out.

2. Introduction and purpose
Add a brief introduction of yourself and your current job profile. Follow it with the purpose of the letter, i.e., your interest and motivation for the job.

3. Skills
Follow the introduction with the relevant skills you have for the job in question. Make sure that these skills are in line with the skill requirement mentioned in the job description.

3. Achievements
List your important achievements and write them in bullet points. Give priority to the achievements that match the job profile.

4. Conclusion
Add a conclusion, in the end, asking the company or hiring manager to get in touch with you for further discussion.

Read or download this Cover Letter Sample 1 that further elucidates the importance of this document.

Steps to write an effective cover letter

The elements that make a well-written cover letter are few and have to be delivered in a hard-hitting way to create a lasting impression. To make the points crystal clear, here is a step by step guide for writing a good cover letter.

Step 1 - The header

A header should give your name, address, contact number, official email address (preferably including your first and last name), and date.

{Your Name}
{Your Address}
{Your Contact Number}
{Your E-mail}

You can also add your professional website and portfolio links if you have them.

{Your Name}
{Your Address}
{Your Contact Number}
{Your E-mail}
{Website Link}
{Portfolio Link}

After your details, you could also add the company address below the name of your hiring manager.

{Name of the Hiring Manager}
HR Manager, {Name of the Addressee Company}
{Address}

Step 2 - Introduction

In the introductory part, it is best that you address the HR Manager by his or her own name. In case you do not know it, you can always visit the company website and surf through the 'About' or 'Our Team' page which generally has a mention.

Dear {Name of HR Manager},
I would like to apply for the {Designation} position of your company which has come to my notice recently, from the advertisement you have posted on Naukri.

or you could go with a more informal approach,

Dear {HR Manager Name},
I just came across your job posting on the company website, and I am very much interested in playing the role successfully for your enterprise.

In case you do not find the name of the hiring manager, mention the company department for which you are applying.

Dear HR Manager (Sales and Marketing Department),
I am writing this letter to express my interest in the Sales Lead vacancy in your company. I came across the job post on the Naukri portal and would like to prove my worth as the right man for the work.

If it is just a single service company and you do not know the name of the hiring manager, then opt for this -

Dear {Company Name} Team,
I recently came across your requirement for a Senior Graphic Designer and after reading the job profile, I am convinced that I fit your bill.

Step 3 - State your purpose

The purpose of this section is to make your addressee have a clear understanding of the role you are looking to play in the company and back it up with why you fit the bill. Don't just mention that you want the job - that's already assumed; instead, mention why you are interested in this particular one.

Note: Job seekers come from different backgrounds and vary from freshers to managerial candidates. To help each and every one of them, below are 4 different samples for the given section.

  • For managers and team leaders

I am interested in the opportunity because I earnestly believe that I have all the right qualities that you are looking for. Having worked in a similar position in my previous company, I have been able to demonstrate my abilities to the satisfaction of my employer and the success of my team.

  • For experienced candidates

The vacancy for the role interests me because I have the necessary experience and credentials. Also, I feel that joining as your {Designation} will be the right step forward for my career and a giant leap towards my future goals.

  • For candidates changing job profiles

Although I have no prior experience in the field and have previously worked as a {previous job profile and designation}, I am looking forward to learning the craft from the best. I feel that joining your company will be a step in the right direction.

  • For freshers

I am looking for a learning start to my career and I feel that applying for this position is the right step forward. I have always admired {Company's Name} as a part of the industry and believe in the quality of work that it does.

Related: Interview questions and answers for freshers

Step 4 - List your skills

Make a neat list of your core skills and do not forget to include your soft skills too.

  • For managers and team leaders

Over the course of my professional experience, I have picked up many skills that have helped me achieve better results. Here's a list of them.

I am trained in Google Video and Mobile advertising and certified by AdWords.

To better understand my team and increase my proficiency as a leader, I have completed a workshop on able leadership conducted by Leader Organization.

I am also adaptable, creative, easy to communicate with, and have good crisis management skills, all of which have been appreciated by my current employer in his testimonial.

  • For experienced candidates

All of my achievements have been possible because I was ready to pick up the skills that were required to make a difference.

I have completed a Digital Marketing course online that has helped me understand in detail all of the facets of my work. Now, I can handle everything from Social Media Campaigns to Search Engine Marketing campaigns.

I also have proficiency in Photoshop, Premiere, and other content creation tools.

I am also quick to learn and ready to pick up the necessary qualities. Also, I am friendly, easy to relate to, and open to the free-flowing exchange of ideas.

  • For candidates changing job profiles

Although I have been working in a different industry till now, I have made efforts to gather the necessary skills for this industry.

I have completed a PGDM course in Business Analytics {Name of school or University}.

I am also a self-taught Photo and Video Editor and have submitted many of my makings to online contests with moderate success.

Due to my education as a Web Developer, I have in-depth knowledge of HTML, PHP, and AngularJS.

  • For freshers

Even though this is going to be the first job of my career, I do understand the importance of skill and have made every effort to gather the relevant ones for this industry.

I have completed a Copywriting certification organized by {Name of school}.

Also, I have picked up the very basics of Graphic Design that will help me get started with designing creatives.

Step 5 - List your achievements

This is the part where you sell yourself as the person the company is not only looking for but also needs for their own benefit. Make sure that you don't list the same achievements from your other cover letters. Instead, write down relevant milestones that make you the right candidate for the particular job.

  • For managers and team leaders

For the last N years I have been working as a {Designation} in {Name of current company} and have been a driving force behind all my department's successful campaigns. This was one of the main reasons why I was allocated my own team and worked on projects independently during my final half year.

  • For experienced candidates

During my time in {Name of current company}, I have been appreciated as the Employee of the Month for 2 months in a row owing to my extraordinary performance. With {Company Name}, I am looking to bring forward a similar work ethic and be an integral part of it.

  • For candidates changing job profiles

During my time in {previous company name}, I did start with inexperience and grew into my role as a promising performer for my team. I believe that I can bring similar zeal and vigor, both as a learner and contributing member if you give me this opportunity.

  • For freshers

I am applying for my first job and believe that I will be able to implement whatever I have learned during my professional education. I am also looking forward to picking up new skills and contributing to the company and my team to the best of my abilities.

Step 6 - List your best performances

This is the part in the cover letter where you precisely list down your top performances. Keep your pointers to a minimum, no more than 3 or 4 of the very best.

  • For managers and team leaders

As part of my previous company I have always strived to get the best results and here are a few of my top feats -
I have successfully handled the XYZ project in its entirety along with my team and generated a revenue of Rs. XXXXXX for my company in a month.
I have converted N number of client leads and initiated their happy journey with {previous company name}.

  • For experienced candidates

As an integral part of my company and team, I have worked relentlessly to bring better performance to the table. Here are some of the highlights -
I have contributed N number of leads which have led to conversions amounting to Rs. XXXX for my company.
Been a major driving force in landing and successfully completing the XYZ project, which also brought better PR to {previous company name}

  • For candidates changing job profiles

Even with my inexperience in the field, I have tried for various amateur contests nationally and abroad, landing some success in both cases.
My entry for the National Copywriting Hunt got selected as one of the top 30 submissions.
In the International Slogan Entry Contest, my entry was featured in their yearly magazine as part of a campaign for one of the top brands.

  • For freshers

Even though this is my first formal work opportunity, I have had some successful stories in college that I would like to mention -
I scored amongst the top 3 CGPA in my last two semesters.
My team won the Advertising Campaign Contest held in my institution during the last academic year, and I was acknowledged as the top contributor to my team.

Step 7 - Talk about your team (optional)

You should always share the credit with your teammates. It doesn't just make you look like a good team player but also highlights your potential leadership quality.

  • For manager and team leaders/experienced candidates

I credit a lot of my success in my previous endeavour to my teammates who have helped me learn and grow as a professional. My performance in the position has also been appreciated by my seniors and colleagues and I have enclosed their testimonials along with my CV.

Or you could highlight how they helped you learn more about your work.

My previous team leader has given me a lot of insight on how to achieve results faster and what is expected of me as a Sales Executive. I believe that these acquired skills will come in handy in my next job role, and I am willing to give my best efforts.

Talking about your company's contribution as a whole to your career growth is also a good idea.

During my time at ABC company, I have learned a lot about work in my field, thanks to the growing and encouraging environment. I believe that with these skills, I can bring better value to your company and contribute to the progress you are aiming at.

Freshers and candidates coming from different backgrounds can skip this bit from their cover letter.

Step 7 - Conclusion

When you reach this part of the letter, you have to assume that you have convinced the HR Manager for a face to face interview. Your cover letter must call on their action to get in touch with you and discuss the particulars.

  • For all candidates

I am looking forward to hearing from you and would be elated to appear for an interview regarding the position. Please feel free to get in touch with me over the phone or at my e-mail and mail address.
Thanking You,
Yours Sincerely,
{Your Name}.

If you prefer a more conversational tone, then ask for a discussion.

I am open to discussing the company objectives and how to make those results more achievable. To get in touch with me for an interview, you can contact me on any medium listed under my name. I shall be looking forward to your reply.
Yours Faithfully,
{Your Name}.

You could also directly ask them if you could come in for an interview.

If it may please you, I would like to come in for an interview regarding the job post and discuss at length about achieving the desired goals together. You could email me or call me for your response to my proposition.
Thanks and Regards,
{Your Name}.

Sometimes, companies ask for an email cover letter and the format for it is a little different. This type of cover letter can also be used when you are cold-calling to the company email address without a job recruitment post. Here is a complete Cover Letter Sample 2 for such cases.

Note: In case you are not cold-calling, you can check the above sample 1 for reference. However, remember to leave out the header part in email cover letters. Instead add those details below your sign off at the end, as shown in cover letter sample 2.

Things to remember

Now that you have a fair idea of how to write an excellent cover letter, here's a brief look at a few things you should consciously when writing a cover letter.

  1. Keep your content short, crisp, and valuable.
  2. Do NOT forget to use the language of the job description.
  3. Freshers should focus on achievements and practical experiences, if any.
  4. Try to avoid copy-pasting templates with changed specifics. Instead, use them for inspiration.
  5. When sending it over e-mail, opt for .PDF format over .DOCX or any other type of file. PDF's are easy to read and do not change formatting when read with different PDF viewers.

You are finally all set to write a cover letter that packs a punch and here is to delivering it in style - All the best!

Career Advice Job Search