How to create the best cover letter for an online job application?

So, did you manage to set up your new profile on some online job seeking platforms? Have you checked the latest job postings on them? If so, I am sure you’ve already come across an online job that you are interested in. What is the next step? Application.

Applying to online jobs is very similar to applying to a normal office job: sending your CV and your cover letter alongside your proposal. In this article, I’ll share how I would create my cover letter if I were you.

What do employees look for in a cover letter?

  • Tailored skills for the job
  • Clarity
  • Details from resume
  • Personal value

Tailored skills for the online job

Keep in mind, that your cover letter might be the only occasion to introduce yourself. Do not just repeat what you have already written down in your CV. Your cover letter has to tell the employer why you are a good fit for the role. Instead of writing about your general skills, focus on those that fit that particular role specifically. Show your passion, highlight your greatest features. What if you lack a skill? Don’t mention it.

Write your cover letter from the viewpoint of the employer: how will they and their company benefit from hiring you? You can also do a little research to see what the company’s ‘pain points’ are and include possible solutions. Make them feel that not hiring you would be a major mistake.

One of my biggest mistakes in the past was that I wrote about whatever I felt was important. Instead, you should keep the job posting next to you as you write, going through it point by point and replying to each section in your letter.

Clarity of the cover letter

The style of your cover letter tells a lot about you. You don’t want to make a messy impression, do you? Take your time writing it.

Sending a flawless cover letter to the employer is of utmost importance. Avoid grammatical mistakes and typos at any cost!

There are so many ways to avoid them. Microsoft Word has its own grammar checker included. I am sure that if you have ever used Word, you have come across it.

My favorite app is definitely Grammarly (read about it here). You can download the extension for Microsoft Office, Chrome, and Windows. I use the Microsoft Office add-on the most. Even the free version checks for spelling, grammar, punctuation, sentence structure, and style!

They have a premium package that has even better features. With the premium add-on, you can set the genre of your article so Grammarly can adjust to it. Grammarly also offers a vocabulary enhancement feature, with which you can avoid weak adjectives and word repetition.

PRO feature: What I really appreciate is that they have an inbuilt plagiarism checker. This is a super useful thing if you are writing articles - it will help you write original copies without having to use other apps like Copyscape.

I personally use the combination of Grammarly and the grammar checker of Word - neither of them are perfect but their combination is hard to beat.

Details from resume

Your cover letter is a great place to go into detail about anything in your CV that needs a little explanation. For example, you can include your motivation behind a past career shift. It is also great to put an emphasis on your future goals, by answering the question ‘where do you see yourself in 5 years’? This will demonstrate your ambitions that employers will appreciate.

Your personal value

Describe your​ positive personal values that will contribute to the company's success. Definitely include your eagerness to learn and to improve at the specific field. It's always a win to list some general features of yours when you are introducing yourself. But what about personality?

Some say there’s no need to add your personality to your cover letter, while some say it’s one of the key elements to add. I share the latter idea.

There was a period in my career when I applied to several jobs online, but I never got any response. I was very upset. I started to talk about this with my friends; some of them were also in a hiring process and they were also pretty frustrated. “Man,” they told me, “all of these 50 applications are the same”. One of them added that he hired an assistant after she sent another email with the subject something like ‘don’t miss the opportunity to work with a superstar like me’. Confident.

You have to stand out from all the other applicants somehow. Either be the first or be the loudest. Have you seen jobs postings where they are looking for ‘superstars’ and ‘rock stars’? Well, be one, and dare to act like one.

It’s difficult to decide when this approach is appropriate. Check the style of the job posting, and if you feel like it, go for it. Also, there are some platforms like Upwork, where you may be able to see the other applications or at least some of them. It’s a great hint to see who your competitors are and how they behave.

There are certain jobs that require alternative CVs and cover letters, such as graphic designer, web designer, UI/UX expert, etc. These professions rely heavily on design elements so it can be a basic requirement to use the designer skills for ‘selling’ yourself. It will showcase your skills instantly.

The basic elements of a cover letter

  1. Greeting
    Address your cover letter to the right person. If you can’t find a person responsible for hiring in the job post, then it’s OK to use: ‘Dear hiring manager’ or ‘Dear Sir/Madam’.
  2. Introduction
    Write a personable, inviting opening paragraph that sums up why you are a perfect fit for the job. Include where did you come across the job posting, and specify which role you are applying to.
  3. Hook
    Highlight your skill set, expertise, and achievements that fit the role you’re applying to. Here, you should collect all the tailored skills for that particular online job. You can include elements from your CV if they are relevant. Add personality!
    Explain how could the company benefit from hiring you - you can use the ‘pain points’ of the company that you have previously researched to make your application stick. Make them feel bad if they miss the opportunity to work with you.
    Keep the job posting next to you while writing the hook. Write only about what the employer is interested in. 
  4. Skills
    Collect any additional relevant skills in this paragraph, such as spoken languages, or anything you feel useful.
  5. Conclusion
    Recap your strengths, and include your contact information.

Writing a cover letter is sometimes a pain in the neck, but consider the first couple as a practice, and then as your self-advertisement. Good luck! 🙂

About the Author Andrea

Hi there, I am Andrea, hope you liked my post. I just wanted to share my experience about how to become location independent.

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