9 Skills To Include In A Cover Letter (With Examples)

Updated 3 July 2023

When applying for a job, cover letters can make a good impression on potential employers because it helps highlight your skills and experience. As an employer might receive many applications for a single job, including the right skills in your cover letter, which can help distinguish you from others. Understanding your skills and how they can give you an advantage allows you to create a cover letter that attracts the employer's attention. In this article, we explain the skills to include in a cover letter and provide examples of each.

Related: Short Cover Letter Sample (With Helpful Steps And Tips)

9 Best Skills To Include In A Cover Letter

Here are the top nine skills to include in a cover letter to differentiate yourself from other candidates:

1. Communication skills

Effective communication is an essential success factor for many professions and industries. At every stage of your employment, you require these skills to interact and build relationships with one another. Being able to communicate effectively makes you a favourite among employees. Whether your job requires you to speak with clients, interact with team members or write emails to customers, strong communication skills make it easier for everyone to work with you. Also, writing an interesting cover letter helps showcase your written communication skills. Example of communication skills to include in a cover letter includes:

  • Writing skills

  • Public speaking

  • Customer satisfaction

  • Non-verbal communication

  • Active listening

  • Providing constructive feedback

Example: My previous job role entailed writing copy for email blasts and blog posts and creating content for sponsored social media posts. These skills would be an asset for the social media specialist position because I can create exciting content for multiple platforms.

Related: Communication Skills: Definitions And Examples

2. Time management

Effectively managing your time is an essential skill for many professions. By including these skills in your cover letter, you show employees that you can work efficiently and complete your work before the deadline. It helps you prioritise your work based on urgency. Apart from helping you complete work before the deadline, time management skills ensure you complete work faster than usual. In your cover letter, provide an instance where you completed the job duties on time. Some time management skills to include are:

  • Planning

  • Goal-setting

  • Scheduling

  • Task management

  • Stress management

  • Delegation

Example: Time management has been my strongest asset since the start of my professional career. Every job position I worked in the past involved meeting deadlines and prioritising work based on urgency. I am now adept at meeting stringent deadlines without compromising on quality.

Related: Time Management Skills: Definition And Examples

3. Adaptability

Adapting to various work environments increases your chances of getting hired for a desirable job. When a company changes culture, shifts or work environment, adaptable employees can adjust their tasks and alter their goals to benefit the company. Including these skills in your cover letter shows employers you can learn new skills, transition easily into different job roles and face challenges. Consider explaining previous jobs that required you to learn a new process or adjust your daily routine, and how you adapted quickly and positively. Some common adaptability skills to include are:

  • Ability to learn

  • Persistence

  • Resourcefulness

  • Curiosity

Example: I have always enjoyed working in a fast-paced environment because I can quickly adapt to changing technologies. My willingness to learn new skills has always helped me be ready for workplace changes that might occur.

4. Problem-solving

Problem-solving skills help you identify problems and solve them. Employers prefer hiring problem-solvers because such employees can even prevent workplace conflicts. With these skills, you identify why a certain problem is happening and how you can best resolve it. Also, the ability to solve problems means you do not require excessive supervision and managers can think about hiring you. When including these skills in your cover letter, mention the solutions and the results of past issues you solved. Some common problem-solving skills to include in your cover letter are:

  • Lateral thinking

  • Negotiation

  • Logical reasoning

  • Observation

  • Analysis

  • Brainstorming

Example: My previous team was constantly missing deadlines, resulting in revenue loss. After joining the company as a manager, I introduced and implemented project management software that helped me keep track of the project's progress. I am adept at solving workplace problems and can find solutions without disturbing my colleagues and team members.

5. Leadership skills

Employers typically look for candidates who can take leadership positions, irrespective of whether they are hiring for an entry-level position or a managerial role. They often prefer candidates who can work with clients, colleagues and other stakeholders. Many employers presume that people with strong leadership skills show integrity, a high level of emotional intelligence and patience in the workplace. In your cover letter, mention how you mentored and trained juniors and the steps you take to guide team members to success. Some common leadership skills to include in your cover letter are:

  • Management skills

  • Cultural intelligence

  • Motivation

  • Trust

  • Authenticity

Example: I led a software project to success in my previous role. I organised the software development team and managed the time to ensure timely delivery of the project's components. After speaking with the team, I understood their work ethics and capabilities and assigned work based on their caliber. These experiences made me the leader that I am today.

Related: Leadership Skills: Definitions And Examples

6. Dependability

Being dependable is essential to showcase to employers that they can depend upon you. When employers depend upon you, they expect you to fulfill your jobs and complete a task as expected. In your cover letter, mention job experiences where managers and team leaders depended upon you and how you managed their dependability successfully.

Example: In my previous job role, when my colleague unexpectedly fell ill, my manager depended upon me to complete the project on time. I collaborated with the rest of the team and worked overtime to deliver the product on time. You can rely on me to complete urgent tasks.

7. Strong work ethics

A strong work ethic is an excellent skill to highlight in your cover letter. Including these skills on your cover letter show employers that you can complete quality work, foster healthy relationships with clients and contribute to valuable tasks. Employees with strong work ethics take pride in their work and become valuable assets to the organisation. Some common qualities that showcase your work ethic are:

  • Commitment

  • Professionalism

  • Initiative

  • Responsibility

  • Integrity

Example: Regardless of my job responsibilities, I take pride in the work I complete and I am keen on following through with every task or duty that I am assigned to ensure the timely completion of work. I maintain a positive outlook even in strenuous situations to keep other team members motivated.

8. Computer skills

Even when you are not applying for an information technology job, mentioning your digital and computer skills can help you differentiate yourself from others. As organisations are slowly digitising their processes, using digital products is essential for getting hired for a desirable job role. Candidates who show their ability to use computer knowledge can be an asset to the recruiting companies. In your cover letter, mention your proficiency with the software you have previously used. Some common computer skills to mention in your cover letter include:

  • Productivity software

  • Database management

  • Video conferencing tools

  • Computer programming

  • Presentation software

  • Email and communication software

Example: I have experience using customer relationship management (CRM) and project management software. My technical aptitude allows me to learn new software fast. I am quick to adapt to new technologies as required.

9. Attention to detail

Another skill that an employer may look for in candidates is attention to detail. Employees with this skill set can help avoid or reduce costly workplace errors. This can help improve workplace performance and productivity. You might require these skills in many job roles, including engineering, accounting, software development and medical roles. Some qualities that can show your attention to detail include:

  • Analysis

  • Scheduling

  • Critical observation

  • Memory

Example: In my previous job role, I managed the CEO's travel schedules and coordinated their appearance at an event. I efficiently managed all public appearances and worked with media representatives to ensure adequate coverage of the event.

Why Is It Important To Include Skills In Your Cover Letter?

Highlighting your marketable skills on your cover letter helps you show potential employers that you are a suitable candidate for the open position. While you list your skills in a resume, cover letters allow you to tell stories and explain your skills in detail. It allows you to give anecdotal evidence of your proficiency. While there are particular skills essential for each industry and profession, some soft skills are essential for every profession because they help you become an effective employee.

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