What is the purpose of a cover letter?

A cover letter is your personal introduction to the company and it should show how you can benefit the company and the team. 

While a CV will give information about your technical skills and briefly mention your work experience, a cover letter gives more insight into your experience, soft skills, attitude and motivations. 

What are the parts of a cover letter?

There are nine sections that every cover letter should include to fit employer expectations and highlight your best qualities:

(1) Contact details : All cover letters start with a header that includes your contact information; your name, your email, phone number and address on separate lines. 

(2)  Object of the letter : OBJECT: Application for the position of Procurement Propulsion System Conformity Manager

(3) Greeting: Dear… : Research the name of the hiring manager. You can often find this information within the job listing, on the company website or by calling their office and asking. If you can’t find a specific name to address your letter to, you can personalize the greeting by referencing the specific department you would be working with.

For the attention of Mrs Smith, Procurement Propulsion Department

If you can’t find this information « Dear Hiring Manager » is a standard greeting that is acceptable when their name is not available. Keep your greeting short and professional, using the appropriate honorifics or titles when applicable; Mr, Mrs, Miss, Ms.

(4)  Introduction : The first paragraph of your cover letter should show that you understand the job on offer. Include the title of the job you are applying for, provide a general overview of why you would excel at the position and the reasons you are excited about the job. 

Example: I read with interest that you are currently looking for a Procurement Propulsion System Conformity Manager for your team.

 Refer to the core strengths required for the job and use your introductory paragraph to explain how you exhibit those qualities.

Example: From my experience I understand that a Procurement Propulsion System Conformity Manager must be able to work effectively not only within the Delivery Operations team, but also with each stakeholder who intervenes in the activity. The position revolves around 3 main axes: Monitoring configuration management activities, secondly checking data filled in by suppliers and Airbus (CAIR / Configuration Management system), and finally, analyzing configuration gaps and triggering corrective actions.

(5) Provide information why you feel you can satisfy the criteria mentioned above.

Example: I am confident that my skills would meet your demands. The methodology and rigor required in my daily professional tasks has given me experience  to identify issues related to configuration process in order to initiate corrective actions. During my previous missions I was responsible for Electrical Milestones and validating electrical drawings. Regarding my personal skills,  my reactivity is essential in allows carrying out efficient  quality control of the data sent by design teams (and request updates/correctives actions in CAIR if necessary to involved teams) in order to validate and respect production planning.

(6) Qualifications: Depending on your experience and career path, you can mention your qualifications here. Provide more details about the information you include on your CV, and focus on how your experiences specifically apply to the job. Explain how you contributed to the success of past projects and draw attention to the impact of your actions.

Example: My involvement in the work and my experience in configuration management acquired during each mission has enabled me to have a global view of the configuration management process (from the design office, to FAL operations… without forgetting supplier needs). During a mission for Airbus, I trained A350 suppliers on handling data transfer tools, solving delivery issues by launching necessary actions to ensure deliveries/production “on time”. As an Aircraft Manager on the A380 in Hamburg, I was also able to resolve problems in order to meet the needs within a given time for for the FAL.

(7) Values and goals : The next paragraph should demonstrate that you understand the company’s mission.  Focus on how your goals align with theirs and connect to the elements you like about the company culture. Explain how the work you do can mutually benefit your future and the needs of your prospective employer. This section of your cover letter allows you to show that you can not only do the job well but can fit in with a team and bring a positive attitude to the workplace.

Example: My dynamism and my strength of character has allowed me to successfully implement projects such as the audit of configuration management within the electrical installation department of Airbus Helicopters. My ability to work autonomously, develop good relationships while at the same time showing leadership strengths has enabled me to succeed in developing an exchange of trust with the different teams when mapping the processes, identifying the strengths and weaknesses of the organizational / functional structure in place and proposing an action plan to gain 25% of time in terms of quality and simplification.

(8) Call to action : Thank the hiring manager for taking the time to review your application, and express interest in speaking more about the position or scheduling an interview. 

Example: Thank you for considering my application  and I look forward to having the opportunity to personally discuss why I am particularly suited to this position.

(9) Signature: Sign off with a professional closing phrase and your signature or typed name in the case of email. Some appropriate closing phrases are:

Examples : Sincerely / Yours faithfully

Buckland Business English