A cover letter is your chance – maybe the only one – to stand out among thousands of applicants.

For many recent graduates, writing a cover letter appears tricky because of their limited work experience. This, however, should not deter you from writing the perfect sales pitch – for yourself!

Follow the advice here on writing a cover letter.

  1. Focus on and research the company you’re applying to via its website and/or give its HR personnel a call. Look carefully at the job description and note any skills or experiences the post demands. What are the keywords?

Try to use those keywords in your cover letter.

  1. Check the format.

a) Address the letter, whether it is Tuan, Sir, Encik or Mr for men and Puan, Madam, Cik, or Ms (don’t assume Mrs!) for women. Stay consistent. If your letter is in English, going with Mr or Ms is the safest bet. In Bahasa Malaysia, Tuan or Puan should be fine. Double check the spelling of the name, position, address, date.

b) Opening and introduction. Explain who you are and your reason for writing, including how you came across the position. In the first paragraph, express your enthusiasm, skills and education, which could contribute to the organisation’s success. The second paragraph highlights your qualifications.

c) The third paragraph is about selling yourself and could be a snippet revealing why you are the perfect fit for the company.

d) In the last paragraph, end with information on your availability, thank the person for reading your letter and complete with a “Yours sincerely” and signature.

  1. Get to the point. Avoid big words and convoluted sentences. Proofread your letter. Better still, get someone to read it and comment on it.

  2. Don’t repeat your resume. Expand on your achievements and successes and share a story on why you’d be the perfect fit in the company.

  3. Computer-type your letter and print a neat, crisp copy, unless the employer specifically asks for a handwritten sample.

  4. Keep it short and sweet. Don’t exceed one page.

  5. Customise. Do not send photocopies of the same cover letter to different employers.

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