Cover Letter Writing Techniques for Jobs in Kenya

By John Wanjora

On this page, I have put down for you in black and white the secrets on how to write a great cover letter in Kenya. My purpose in doing this is to demystify Cover Letter writing so that you can excel in your job search. 

When working for my clients, I always find it easier to write the cover letter once I am done with the CV for the simple reason that this approach enables me to first understand the client’s strengths and limitations. I then use the cover letter to highlight these strengths. Before we proceed, I presume that you already have your CV aligned to the job description.

So, let's get started.

As a rule, keep your cover letter brief and to the point. In terms of length, it should not exceed a single page. In order to make it more effective, the letter should:

  1. Express interest in the job for which you are applying
  2. Briefly s, ow how your background and work experience qualify you for the job
  3. Ask for an interview

The cover letter takes the usual format of an official letter. The letter should be addressed to either the hiring authority for the position that you are interested in, or to the company’s human resource manager. In addition, you should give the letter a more personal touch by including the recipient’s full name in the salutation, e.g., Dear Davis Wekesa. In case you are not sure of the person’s name or spelling, call the company and find out. 

Other details that should go into the letter include:

  • The purpose for which you are sending the letter or title of the job you are interested in. This is usually contained in the reference section that comes immediately after salutation.
  • A brief highlight of your skills and a direct invitation of the manager to read the attached CV. If your qualifications do not exactly match those specified by the employer, point this out in the cover letter and give evidence that you have the relevant experience to enable you handle the job.
  • Information suggesting when you could be available for an interview, as well as how you may be contacted before then if need be.

In order to make the cover letter more appealing and effective, it should be neat in appearance, clear and polite in communication, and free of grammatical errors. 

First Paragraph

The letter’s opening paragraph should be designed to capture the manager’s attention and sustain his interest in reading further. Below are four simple but captivating techniques that you could use to grab the manager’s attention:

1. Giving a brief summary of your specific qualifications that match the requirements for  the job  at hand. For example:

My Bachelor's degree in  Business Administration and four years professional experience as an Administrative Assistant with the British High Commission in Nairobi qualify  me for  the  Personal Assistant’s position that you advertised in the Daily Nation on Monday the 15th of August.

2. By beginning your letter with reference to the company’s latest developments, you come out as someone informed, interested in  the company, and worth  listening to. For example:

During a recent interview on Citizen TV, Mr. Mwamburi, your CEO,  outlined your company’s strategy for seizing the emerging  business opportunities in Southern Sudan and the wider East African region. Please consider my B.Com. degree  with  majors in marketing, and my two years’ experience as a motor vehicle sales executive with Toyota East Africa, as you look for the best team to send to your new branches in these markets.

3. If you are writing in response to an advert or if you have been asked to send your credentials by someone personally known to the human resource manager, you can immediately grab his attention by referring to any of these:

Example 1: writing in reference to an advert

I am sending this application in response to your advert appearing in The Standard on Tuesday the 23rd of August, requiring Computer Networking Technicians.

Example 2:  sending your application  under somebody’s instructions.

Use this approach only when certain that the person you are talking about is personally known to the employment manager, and that the two are in good terms. For example:

Ken Otiato of Savvy Concepts has asked me to send you my credentials for  consideration for  a Systems Administrator's job. He has informed me that you have such a position in your newly formed department of Information Technology,  and that  you could consider me for  the position. My qualifications and experience match your requirements.

4. A fourth and more adventurous way of capturing the manager’s attention  is  by  asking a thought  provoking question. This method is especially recommended for those sending unsolicited applications for it does a nice job at opening up communication. Example:

Does your theatre troupe require the services of a talented actress who can sing alto, play the bass guitar and act? Here I am.

Second Paragraph

Build the manager’s interest in your worth by first highlighting your qualifications and experience, and second, by inviting him to read the attached CV. This  is also where you should market your strengths and express your eagerness to work for his organization.

Example: an ex-police officer wishing to join a private security firm

My rigorous training at Kiganjo Police Training College and my four years experience as a corporal serving in Wajir and Nairobi Counties make me an asset worth  your consideration. Should you hire  me, I  will gladly bring along a wealth of knowledge and experience in intelligence gathering for crime prevention, on-the- scene handling of crime, as well  as investigation skills to  guarantee  your clients the security they so much need. Please see my attached Curriculum Vitae for more details.

Third Paragraph

Be specific  and ask for  an interview. After making this request, take control of the process and promise to call the manager in about a week’s time to fix a date for the interview at his or her convenience. Also, give your contacts just in case the manager wishes to call you before then. By promising to follow things up with a phone call to the manager, you eliminate the ‘waiting in the dark period’ that falls between the moments you send the mail and when you receive response. Below is a nice way of ending a cover letter.

I would appreciate the opportunity to discuss how I can make a contribution to your company. I will  call your office on the 10th  of July so we can schedule an interview at your convenience. Should you wish to contact me before then, you may use the e-mail address above or call at (689) 696966.

Thank you for your consideration.

Signing Off

This is where you put your closing remarks such as Yours Faithfully, Sincerely, Truly, etc., and then your name. If you are sending the application through the post office or hand delivery, remember to leave enough space for your signature between these words and your name. This section can be aligned either to the left, center or to the right hand side of the page.

If you are sending the letter accompanying a copy of your CV, indicate this by writing: “Enc. Résumé” or “Enc. Curriculum Vitae” below your name.

Now you have them, the core secrets on how to write a cover letter in Kenya. Go ahead, use them, and may God grant you success in your current job search and prosper you in your career. And should you need my assistance in writing your professional cover letter, kindly drop me an email at: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., or dial me up on 0720 079413. My rates are Ksh. 500 only per letter.

About the Author

John Wanjora is the Best CV Writer in Kenya, and does his magic at CVs By John - www.cvsbyjohn.com. He is also the author of Getting Your Dream Job, Kenya's best selling title on CV, Cover Letter Writing, and Preparing for job interviews. John is always available on Tel: 0720 079413, or Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

 

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