When anyone enters the job market in search of his/her dream job, the first thing they do is to write a cover letter. It is often ignored in terms of structure and content.

There are some essential components that any good cover letter should have. The funny part is that almost all of us know this but only a few invest time and effort in creating one to suit the job they are applying for.

Little do they realise that the cover letter, at times, can be important if not more than the CV to be shortlisted for that dream job.

So let’s cut to the chase and examine the must-haves in a cover letter.

The letter should have your name, address, and contact details (mobile number and e-mail). It is best to have this information like a mast at the top of the page.

Next, address the letter to the person who has advertised the position such as “Dear Mr or Dear Ms”. It is better to research the recipient’s name. If you can’t find the name, then only address the letter generically such as ‘The Advertiser’ or ‘The Hiring Manager’.

In in the first paragraph, state the position you are applying for and also where you saw the advertisement (e.g., Indian Weekender, Seek, Jobtome websites, etc.).

Also mention something positive about the company; something about the company that you admire. This will demonstrate to the person reading your application that you have invested some time and effort in researching the company.

In the same paragraph, mention a couple of skills that you have that are most relevant to the position.

The second paragraph is the meat of the whole letter. In this paragraph, mention your background and experience in brief (a few lines should do. This should tie back to your CV).

Give specific examples of the skills that you mentioned in the first paragraph. Qualify these skills with numbers and/or accomplishments (e.g. was awarded Employee of the Month, or achieved X% growth in revenue).

Also, mention additional skills that you will bring to the role/organisation without being repetitive.

In the last paragraph, mention your availability to attend an interview with your contact number. Also, reiterate your interest in the role and the opportunity to be a part of their team. Last but not the least, thank the person for their time.

The sign off should be: ‘Yours sincerely’ or ‘Yours truly’ with you name below.

If you are attaching/enclosing anything more than the CV and cover letter, it is best to mention the annexures at the bottom of the cover letter below your name.

This is useful in cases where certain documents may have been requested by the advertiser to be sent along with the application.

In my next column, we will decode the CV (Curriculum Vitae).

Rajesh Krishnamurthy is a professional CV writer and financial wellness coach.