You were looking for a job since some time now, and finally, you have found a position to apply for. You have perfected your resume. What you need now is a cover-letter.
Is it a task you have been dreading? Worry not, we are here with some tips on creating a good cover letter!
First things first, what is a cover letter?
A cover letter is a document that is typically sent along with your resume. To say it very basically, the cover letter gives additional information about your skills and experience.
Does it Matter These Days?
Some people might think in the tech-driven world where LinkedIn is available, there is no need for a cover letter.
It is actually pretty important.
A cover letter is probably the first written interaction you have with a potential employer. Resume gives information. A cover letter speaks. It is a document which will help you stand out: CVs can look similar since people can have similar qualifications.
So, there comes the cover letter! Employers and hiring managers may often screen cover letters to shortlist candidates out of a pool of applicants.
Some job postings will actually mention that they want a cover letter.
Even if it has not been said, sending in a cover letter anyway is still a good idea.
Cover letters, along with a resume, provide your first impression.
What to Include:
Before you begin constructing a cover letter:
- Make sure you go through the job description and the skills required. Try to think of instances where you have applied those skills in the past.
- Try to find out whom to address.
- Find out more about the company and their vision.
Now, the structure! Dividing the following in two to three paragraphs is ideal. Keep it concise yet with a personal touch.
The cover letter should address the appropriate person, and the appropriate company. Make sure you get the names right!
It is a good idea to begin a cover letter by mentioning the specific post/job you are applying for.
Talk about your skills and experience. Here your attention to the job description and the advertisement will come to aid. You will find certain “keywords”. Include those which they have asked for, but you don’t need to stick to just those, but they have to be there.
One needs a hook now.
Since this is not a resume that we are constructing, you also have to talk about how you have applied those skills before. Talk about instances which show why your experience is relevant to the position.
Make sure to keep this personable, brief (no excessive storytelling!) and with substance. There should be no fluff or generic statements.
To sidle past fluff and generic statements, it is important to make sure the company feels like the letter has been addressed to them and isn’t a document that has been photocopied and sent in bulk.
Knowing the company’s mission and vision comes to aid here. You can talk how you can fit into the culture, and how you can contribute to the company with your skills and experience. Again, remember, substance is what we want. A well-researched cover letter will be appreciated.
The conclusion has to be you asking them to contact you for the interview. Convey them you are ready for the next step! Don’t forget to thank them too.
Word of Caution:
- Don’t forget to proof-read the cover letter thoroughly. You can also ask a friend or a family member to go through to get an external perspective.
- Don’t just repeat plainly what’s on your resume, because then what will be the purpose of the resume? Try to complement it rather than duplicating it.
- Make sure you get the company and personnel names right.
- Try not to use “I” too much. While we understand you are trying to sell your brand, it has to be about how you can contribute to the company.
- Don’t forget to write your name and contact details! And sign! Either at the beginning or at the end, depending on the format you choose to write in.
Remember, the structure and content differs according to the industry. Make sure you adhere to any formatting specifications in case the employers have asked for.