Most fresh graduates spend a great deal of time editing the layout and content of their resumes. However, what they often neglect when doing these next steps after school is how important a cover letter is for their job application. A lot of these letters are written in haste; even worse, applicants send a generic letter using the same template to all of the companies they are aiming to work for.
What is Cover Letter?
Cover Letter: A Cover letter is a kind of letter that briefly introduces the contents of another document. The cover letter is also used to briefly describe the context of your resume submission for job application.
A cover letter is a piece of paper that provides the hiring manager with important details on your educational background, relevant work experiences, and where you saw the job listing. The Cover Letter generally comes in a narrative form as opposed to your resume’s bullet-point style. Because the cover letter shows how well you communicate and express yourself in a written manner, it gives recruiters an idea of whether you are the right candidate for their company’s needs.
Always remember to write each cover letter for a particular company and the position that you’re vying for. Sometimes, you may require the statement of purpose instead of a cover letter such as when you apply for a scholarship or while applying for a grant. There is a slight difference in cover letter and statement of purpose. These handy tips on how to write a cover letter; will leave a marvelous first impression on the hiring manager.
Writing a Cover Letter is an art!
- Know what to include on your header
Your cover letter must only contain details that are relevant to your application such as:
- Your full name
- Your contact information – It is comprised of your mobile number, professional email address, and LinkedIn profile. Make sure that these details are updated.
- Your recipient’s name – This is vital since it shows that you did your research on the company. The letter should be addressed to a particular person as much as possible. If you can’t find the hiring manager’s complete name, you can use a generic title like Human Resources Manager.
- Your recipient’s job title
The Cover Letter should not include information that the employer is not asking for, such as your family background. Moreover, questions about the salary, schedule, or benefits are usually reserved during the interview when you speak to the recruiter’s face to face. Of course, if the company states upfront to include your salary requirements in the letter, then write how much you expect to be paid per month.
- Know the parts of the Cover letter
Again, your letter should open with your and your recruiter’s contact information. Check out these cover letter samples for inspiration on the various types of headers. You can include the date if you prefer or you can skip it.
Direct your cover letter to the hiring manager. A fool-proof way to catch their attention is to use their name. This way, you prove that the letter is not some generic template that you send to all companies; it will look personal instead. It will evoke a feeling that the hiring manager has found the perfect candidate.
Deciding whether to use the recruiter’s first name (“Dear Ms. Jane”) or last name (“Dear Ms. Smith”) depends on the company’s culture. If you’re looking to join a company that has a laidback atmosphere, you can use their first name. For a more structured company, however, it’s best to use their last name.
- Opening paragraph
It should state your intent similar to the letter of interest. Take a direct approach in your message. A remarkable example is writing “I am applying for the marketing position that was advertised on your website.” It lets the reader know what your letter is about and where you found the job listing. Inside Higher Ed recommends making a conclusion statement in the introduction.
- Middle paragraph
This must include a brief account of your relevant skills and work experiences in cover letter. It answers the question as to why they should hire you. Check the qualifications on the ad and write how you match the description that they’re looking for.
- Closing paragraph
To close your cover letter, you must reiterate how excited you are about the job opportunity and how your unique qualifications make you the right candidate for the job. Write about how you are eagerly looking forward to meeting with the hiring manager in person to talk over your experiences and knowledge which you can contribute to the company.
Here is where you write your closing remarks. “Thank you for your consideration,” “Best regards,” and “Respectfully yours” are some of the more formal sign-offs used in cover letters. Write your name below the sign-off. Plus, it’s better to include your vital contact information again under your name to make it easy for the recruiter to find it.
Aside from your resume, your cover letter has to power to make or break your application. With the many applicants in the competitive market today, you should make use of every tool to your advantage. Also, your cover letter is a writing sample that you’ll submit to the company; don’t forget to proofread it.