A great cover letter is your gateway to your job interview. In this article, we will discuss essential tips on how to write a perfect cover letter – especially when you are fresh out of college and got no experience.
Tips on how to create a perfect cover letter for a newbie Programmer
A cover letter is divided into several parts – we will discuss each part in detail.
How to write a perfect cover letter Subject / Tag Line
A cover letter is the content (body) of your job application email. It needs a strong subject to get opened by HR.
<Job application for Job title / Job ID>: <Excellent web developer><with 3+ projects>, <willing to work on a live implementation>
It’s a 4 part subject line, delimited by <>:
- Job title / Job ID: Remember the HR’s plight – what if there are also positions out for a C#, Java and Python Programmers? What if they all landed 100+ applications and yours was the only PHP application? You can’t afford to miss such home runs.
- Excellent Web Developer: You did a smart job by not repeating PHP Programmer as it was already covered in Part 1. Stand out with your writing skills.
- With 3+ Projects: You can include anything outstanding you did as programmer, irrespective of it being related to PHP. After all, it’s a tag line. The only rule of thumb here is: It must prompt the recruiter to open your email.
- Willing to work on live implementation: What more could be desirable in a fresher / newbie jobseeker? (Cough, cough – I hope you don’t screw up in your cover letter body)
How to write a unique Cover Letter Body
Best cover letter is nothing but a unique & short specimen of 6 simple ingredients:
- Hellos & Thanks
- Authority (Uniqueness)
- Warm “See you soon”
How to write cover a perfect letter – Ingredients in detail:
- Address to a person: Mr. Shaw, Dear Lauren, Dear HR Lead at myfirstwebjob.com – all will do, in that order of priority. (if one of your friends working there referred you this position, include his / her 1-line introduction here). Max 3 lines.
- Identify where are you applying (Optional): I am applying for job X at ABC Corporation. 1 line.
- Introduction: Your name, combined with where you live. 1-2 lines.
- Establish Authenticity: This is meant to prove that your application isn’t spam, you are in their mailbox for a valid reason. Give an overview of your major degree, the degree which is relevant to the job, and any relevant trainings / certifications you have obtained. 2-3 lines.
- Establish Authority (Uniqueness): This decides your cover-letter’s true worth. Include couple of lines about your experience with job relevant technologies. If you are fresh out of college, this must include your in-training project work, any volunteer work, or a hobby project that exists on Github, or any other public repo. Remember that skills mentioned in the publicized job description must appear here, or your chances are sleek, despite being the best match. Max 5 lines, including any outstanding achievements, because there is CV too, and you want to preserve the meat for the main course.
- A warm farewell: To establish that you are a nice person to work with. Casually remind them that your CV is attached, and they can find all your contact details within the CV. Do not miss out on the lightening up part- example: “Feel free to reach out to me for any questions.” or “For questions, I am just an email away, cheers!” A graceful smiley really isn’t out of place here. 2 Lines.
- Signature: Leave your phone number (the one that remains with you most of your time) in the signature, and nothing else. Long cover letter signatures are huge turn offs in a freshers’ cover letter. Full name + Phone number.
What not to do while writing a perfect cover letter:
- Generic Address. Dear Sir / Madam sucks. Really. Do some research about the company you apply for. If nothing is available, use Dear HR Coordinator or Dear HR Team.)
- Not mentioning position details in the body and subject line. This is even worse if the company has several positions.
- Copy-paste in the profile and experience details. If you are applying for several companies with similar job descriptions, this maybe OK. Yet, it would be good to go through individual job descriptions, and match your cover letter wordings with those in the job description – as far as possible. But do not bold them out, and do not overdo it. Remember, minutes spent on cover letter drastically reduces your number of days in waiting for that dream interview call.
- Abruptly ending without heartwarming farewell. A good last impression will make them pick up the receiver, and call you…
- Leaving no immediate contact details in the cover letter. While you should include phone and email in your CV, leaving contact details inside your cover letter just reduces the friction. And things tend to run smoothly without friction.
Beginner Programmer Cover Letter – an example for C# programmer:
Dear Ms. Hemingway,
I am quite excited to be applying for the position of C# trainee developer in HuckBerry Software Solutions.
My name is Mark Twain. I have obtained my B.S. in Electrical Engineering from Scolastic International Engineering School. Due to immense interest in programming since high school, I gained .NET Programming Certification from Udemy quite recently.
Due to my excellent programming aptitude, I worked volunteer computing lab technician at my college – a task that I am thoroughly enjoying currently. As part of my daily job, I create and maintain wide range of example C# student Projects on college server. Working with teaching staff, I also developed an in-house student enrollment system (now live) using C# and SQL server.
If I seem to be the right fit, I am just a call away – my attached CV speaks has all my contact details.
Do feel free to reach out for any questions…:)
- Take a day to think about how would you write a perfect cover letter for your first job.
- Try the sample with your next 25 job applications (do not forget to change relevant details, avoid boilerplate). Measure the response.
- If you fail to hear back from anyone, don’t lose your guts. Just send me your feedback.
Happy job hunting!