How to write a stand-out cover letter

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How To Write A Stand-Out Cover Letter

Finding the right job opportunity or applying for a job is a challenging process. To have a chance, you need to know how to write a stand-out cover letter. It's just as important as having a solid CV or resume.

Did you know that an employer or recruiter can easily reject a CV within five to seven seconds of looking at it? Research shows that many employers and recruiters will reject your application before reviewing your CV. That's because a poorly written cover letter or uninteresting motivation immediately turns them off.

Here are some general guidelines on how to write a stand-out cover letter:

The salutation for a stand-out cover letter 

Here are a few phrases you should try to avoid. "Dear Sirs" or "Good Morning" should be replaced with "To whom it may concern" or "Good day".

We'll start by writing the introductory paragraph.

During the first paragraph of the cover letter, you should introduce yourself and briefly describe the position for which you're applying.

"I am interested in the Work-from-Home Marketing Manager position advertised on your website".

Now, the employer or recruiter will have to read your motivation and decide if it's worth reading beyond the first paragraph. To do that, you'll need an attention grabber for them to remember you by. You don't have much time to make a good first impression, so write something that shows you've researched the job and are qualified enough to apply.

Simplicity is key - find one sentence of information that displays what skills you're bringing to the table and keep it short and sweet.

In your cover letter, it can be helpful to identify the skills that the employer is looking for and demonstrate how you have these skills and why they're essential. You should provide evidence by offering relevant examples of your previous work or volunteer experience, if possible.

Your objective is to get the recruiter to keep reading.

The key to success is understanding the job requirements.

You should take a moment to read the job description. Once you're done, you'll see the main requirements that are necessary for performing that role effectively.

Next, offer a solution by responding with a fact-based answer that shows why your skills match up with their requirements. When writing your cover letter, write as if you’re answering these requirements.

Here is an example : 

The skills listed in the attached Curriculum Vitae go into greater detail, but please focus your attention on this short list of my qualifications. It's my belief that I am well-suited to this position and would be an asset to your company.

I completed a degree in Marketing and Communications Management from the University of South Africa in 1997.

I have 12 years of experience managing the marketing department of a well-known retail group.

I have a reliable home office with everything I need to work from home and maintain deadlines without any problems.

Should you include a photograph on a CV or cover letter?

Do you include a photo on your CV or cover letter? If required, or if you decide to do so, ensure that the photo is a professional, formal headshot. 

At RecruitMyMom, we feel photographs cause unconscious bias, so we do not include them. With the rise of video interviewing, we feel this is a far better way to assess a candidate's merits. 

In this blog post, we're going to show you how to write an effective and stand-out cover letter.

1. Be able to explain why you should be hired in a concise and compelling manner when writing your cover letter. If you can't, you might lose out on the job opportunity.

2. Paragraphs must be short and to the point. 

3. Give tangible proof by highlighting your specific skills and experience. For example, "the quality of my work is best demonstrated through the loyalty of our customer base. As measured by KPA’s basket size and return visits, this was increased by 260% in the past fiscal year".

4. Your cover letter should be short and informative. It's there to introduce you and give us a sense of your suitability as a candidate so that we can expedite reviewing your CV.

5. To avoid looking unprofessional, it's best to avoid using graphics, pictures, or colours when you send a cover letter. If you are a graphic designer and are looking to impress, keep this information contained in your portfolio and not included in your cover letter.

6. Always double-check the spelling, grammar, and punctuation. It never hurts to have a trusted third party help you find any errors that might have slipped through the cracks.

How to end a stand-out cover letter

End your cover letter confidently, showcasing why you're the right person for the job. This is not the time to be bashful about your achievements. Do not come across as arrogant, be confident. 

"I am confident that my skills match up well with what you need, and I would love to meet with you in person.

After reviewing our application, we hope you agree it's a perfect fit".

Here is an example of a good cover letter:

Good day, 

I'm interested in the work-from-home Marketing Manager job you advertised on your website.

Below you will find my CV, which is attached for your perusal. I'll be focusing on my skills and qualifications in this cover letter. My previous experience in a corporate setting and the social sector has prepared me to be an excellent fit for this position.

I graduated from the University of South Africa with a Bachelor's Degree in Marketing & Communications Management in 1997.

I've been the Marketing Director of a major retail group for the last 12 years.

I have a reliable home office set-up and a fast fibre connection, which ensures that I can work from home and meet deadlines reliably.

In the past year, I helped increase customer loyalty by 260% by working on focused customer service initiatives. This is demonstrated in increases to basket size and return visits, as measured by KPA's.

I am confident that my skills match those required and would value having an in-person meeting with you.

I hope that the information provided here is enough for you to make the decision about this application.

Kind Regards


Here are 6 things you should avoid on a cover letter.

1. A cover letter should not be used to emphasise how badly you need the position. It's there to show why you can do the job well.

2. By sharing too much about your personal situation, you may put off the person reviewing the job applications.

3. We believe that searching for a job should be just like any other part of your career. You shouldn't be begging for someone to hire you.

4. Make sure you don't miss your chance to submit a cover letter.

5. You should not explain why you need additional flexibility in a cover letter. 

6. Make sure you don't make any spelling or grammar mistakes in the cover letter. 

Creating the best first impression is crucial when job hunting. An excellent, engaging cover letter will leave a strong and lasting first impression. Furthermore, this can lift your CV's chances of being read. As an expert in recruitment, we can confidently say that quality cover letters are invaluable when landing a successful interview.


RecruitMyMom is a recruitment agency that places professional, skilled moms. We are trusted by thousands of employers for permanent, contract, freelance and independent contracting jobs.