The Magnificent Seven: 7 Pro Tips for Writing the Greatest Cover Letter for Government Job

How do you write a great cover letter? Writing a great cover letter for government job starts with understanding its purpose and the purpose of a cover letter isn’t to get you the job, it’s to get you an interview, it’s to get your reader to say to herself  “this is someone I really have to meet”.

Just look at this amazing federal cover letter sample that Federal Resume Guide offers you. Are you curious about how to make your own federal cover letter as impressive and professional as this example? Here’s how to get to that result.

So to sum up the basic writing principles, we’re considering today:

  • keep your federal cover letter short and sweet
  • do your research so you really understand who the organization is and what they’re looking for
  • tailor your federal cover letter to the organization and focus on their needs, rather than your wants
  • be sure to answer the question too by providing all the information they ask for
  • and finally, keep the layout clean and simple

1.First of all keep your federal cover letter shorts and sweet, maximum half a page. It needs to grab the attention of a busy reader whether it’s the line manager you’ll be reporting to or an HR director. So just a couple of paragraphs should be enough. Any more than that and you risk your reader losing interest in you, which is not what you want. Your goal isn’t to replicate everything that’s on your resume it’s to pique the reader’s interest, so they feel compelled to look at your resume.

2. Just like your resume your, federal cover letter should be tailored to the organization you’re applying to and that doesn’t just mean obvious stuff like addressing it to the right person. It also means tailoring the content of your federal cover letter to the organization, so you’ll need to do your research into things like:

  • What does the agency do?
  • What’s special about their causes?
  • How do they talk about themselves?
  • Who are their competitors?
  • What’s going on in their industry?
  • What does the role involve?
  • What essential skills are they look for?

Knowing the answers to these questions will give you a real feel for the organization. They’ll also allow. You to demonstrate that you’re genuinely interested in the organization and most importantly, that you’re a great fit.

3. A great federal cover letter is more about them, the reader, than you, the writer, though it may seem strange Your federal cover letter shouldn’t be about your wants, but about showing you understand your reader’s needs. So don’t just make your federal cover letter all about me, me, me. Instead read the job description on the job announcement to find out what the organization is really looking for. From there your goal should be to demonstrate that you are the person, who can fulfill their needs.

4. And remember the advice you were given when you are sitting exams: that the most important thing was to answer the question. The same is true of job applications: your federal cover letter should highlight the parts of your resume, that show your skills match their requirements as stated in the job description. That means using their language: if they say they’re looking for an employee of a lower government GS level, call yourself the one, even if you think of yourself as an employee of a higher GS level. You will negotiate on a salary later, so don’t be afraid to quote their words back at them.

5. Employers also want to see, that you can follow directions. So if they asked for specific information, for example, your salary requirements, don’t evade the question. Address it head-on even if it’s just to give a range or to say you’re negotiable on salary.

6. One way to prove you’re a great fit is to get the tone of voice right, so read the job description and anything else the organization produces. Is their tone of voice formal and businesslike or is it more playful and conversational? Usually you’ll probably want to error on the side of formality. But if what you’ve read tells that this company has a relaxed friendly conversational style, then there may be room to use language that’s a little more colloquial.

7. But do keep your formatting simple and fuss-free, no fancy fonts or pictures. And address it to the person named on the job announcement. Address the reader as Mr. or Ms., then by their first name, if the job announcement doesn’t include a name then ‘Dear sir or madam’ will be fine. If you know their name, sign off with ‘yours sincerely’. If you’re addressing it to ‘Dear sir or madam’ sign off with ‘yours faithfully’.

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