A cover letter accompanies your resume or CV when you apply for a job or send your job application documents. It is your professional introduction to the prospective employer.
It highlights your interest in the job while briefly relating your skills and qualifications to the requirements of the prospective employer.
In order to write an effective cover letter, you need to read the job description provided by the employer. It will help you decide what you need to write in which part of the letter and how to build upon it to grab the attention of the hiring manager.
A cover letter is not an extension of a resume. It complements a resume in a way that would seem appealing enough to a prospective employer to see the attached resume.
Cover Letter Format
Your cover letter should not be more than three to four paragraphs;
– Opening Paragraph
An opening paragraph that tells the employer what position you are applying for, as well as your core skills and experiences that makes you a good fit.
– Middle Paragraph(s)
The middle paragraph(s) forms the body of your cover letter. It contains your skills and qualifications along with any experiences that you might have.
Remember, the core of a cover letter is the middle paragraph(s) where you will have an opportunity to sell your skills.
Do not write irrelevant information in the body as you will be using up precious writing space.
Put the maximum information here; your most relevant experience and skills, personality traits, accomplishments, and any awards that you have received.
– Last Paragraph
In the last paragraph, restate precisely why you are the right candidate for the position in question. Mention your follow-up plan, as well as your desire for an interview. Thank the recruiter for their time.
- 1. Address the Hiring Manager Directly
- 2. Start Strong
- 3. Create Relevance
- 4. Make it targeted
- 5. Keep it Employer Focused
- 6. Show That You Already Know the Organization
- 7. Keep It Short
- 8. Use Figues and Numbers
- 9. Mention your core competencies
- 10. Show interest in the field
- 11. Emphasize future
- 12. Change the structure of sentences
- 13. Explain red flags
- 14. Do Not Make Demands
- 15. Be Honest
- 16. Use keywords
- 17. Check for Errors
- 18. Keep a soft copy
1. Address the Hiring Manager Directly
Contact the prospective company and ask for the hiring manager or recruiter’s name and designation so that you address the relevant person directly.
2. Start Strong
Explain why the job and the specific company interest you. Talk about yourself, and why you are submitting your application for the position. Mention at least one accomplishment that you can boast of.
3. Create Relevance
The most useful tip for writing a winning cover letter is perhaps relevance. Relate your skills to the job description provided by the recruiter.
4. Make it targeted
Write a different cover letter to apply for the same position at a different company. Target the content as per the needs of the specific employer.
5. Keep it Employer Focused
Your prospective employer always knows that you have the desire to get the job. But what can you do for them? So it’s essential to talk about what you bring to the table. Highlight your previous accomplishments and what you could bring in light of those accomplishments.
Write it in such a way that draws attention to your strengths, rather than your wish for the job. Make it apparent how you can make the company more profitable and exceed the employer’s expectations.
6. Show That You Already Know the Organization
The job market is always full of people in search of any job. You can stand out by showing you have researched the prospective company. This will make your cover letter unique because it shows that you have done some homework.
7. Keep It Short
Human Resources professionals see lots of resumes and cover letters on a daily basis. In order to impress them, you should keep your cover letter short and to the point.
An ideal cover letter should be a maximum of one page long. Do not write a lengthy, boring letter. Make it to the point, relevant to the job, and short.
8. Use Figues and Numbers
Use demonstrable data wherever possible. For instance, if you have done a sales job, don’t just say that you raised sales volume. Tell them exactly how much you increased sales, such as $4000 per month.
9. Mention your core competencies
To develop the employer’s interest, you should mention a few of your core competencies.
10. Show interest in the field
Showcase your passion; your cover letter should reflect your dedication and enthusiasm in the specific field.
11. Emphasize future
2. Emphasize the future, not the past. That is to say, you need to mention the kind of expertise and capabilities you will bring to the prospective employer.
12. Change the structure of sentences
Change the structure of every sentence to a great extent.
13. Explain red flags
Carefully explain any career red flags such as gaps in jobs or education and reasons for a career change.
14. Do Not Make Demands
Never mention what you want the company to do for you in the future. Also, do not write about your salary expectations. You can discuss your salary in the interview.
15. Be Honest
Do not lie just to make yourself look good. Even if the employer believes you and hires you at that point, you will be found out later, and it will be incredibly embarrassing.
16. Use keywords
To make your cover letter searchable in software, make sure you have included a few job-related keywords in the cover letter.
17. Check for Errors
Never send your cover letter unchecked with spelling, grammar, and syntax errors. Check it for errors at least three times before sending it.
Have some friend or family member proofread your letter to identify any typos or misuse of words that might not be caught by a spell checker.
18. Keep a soft copy
Keep a soft copy of your cover letter for future reference.
7 Cover Letter Don’ts
- Do not over-stuff your cover letter with the pronouns “I,” “me” or “my.”
- Don’t talk negatively about your previous employer, coworker, or work environment.
- Don’t use too-informal language or abbreviations.
- Do not repeat the same idea.
- Keep away from any kind of negativity.
- Never exceed the length of your letter to one page. Writing a long cover letter means that you are trying to hide some negative facts.
- Don’t forget to sign your cover letter above your typed name at the bottom.
A good cover letter convinces the employer to have a look at your resume, and subsequently, opens the doors to your consideration for the specific job.
A cover letter is the first point of contact with an employer and needs to be just perfect to ensure your application moves forward to the interview phase.
Writing a compelling cover letter is the most significant concern of any candidate applying for a job.
That is because cover letters are incredibly daunting to write, and one can never tell what to put in them to impress the employer.
While you cannot be sure what will favor an employer’s eye, some things will never fail you.
It is a fact that most employers will read only three paragraphs, precisely the middle one; this is because they usually do not have time to read the whole document.
Therefore, it is best in your interest that you write your core competencies in three paragraphs only.