Most employers make it a compulsory requirement that interested candidates send them a CV and a Cover letter. A cover letter is an important document that supports a candidate’s CV in giving a potential employer more important information about the candidate. Regrettably, most candidates do not understand the value of a Cover letter. Worst still, most candidates do not know how to write one and assume it’s a document forwarded with each application. This makes such Cover letters boring and predictable.
A Cover letter should be a well-written, well-thought out and customized document that compels the employer to read it and consider the candidate. It is wise to note that a cover letter is needed at each stage of one’s career, regardless of whether you are a fresh graduate or a seasoned career individual.
This article showcases the value of a Cover letter, shows you how to write one and what details must go into the document. See the tips below on how to use a cover letter.
How to prove to the employer that you are the best candidate
The Cover letter gives you a platform to display further your skills and experience in detail, unlike the CV. While the CV is a summary of your qualifications and work experience, the cover letter allows you to blow your career trumpet and convince the employer that you are their best shot at attaining their business objectives.
For instance, where the job advert requires that the ideal candidate to possess managerial and supervision skills. The Cover letter provides the perfect platform to showcase previous experience in the same by stating how you managed team dynamics, set team targets, recognition, reward and discipline within the team, among other HR functions. You can also state how you contributed to the team’s success by encouraging teamwork, healthy competition and boosting morale. Listing such attributes on your cover letter gives the employer a clear indication that you know exactly what they are looking for and you see how your skills fit in the role.
You can also specifically elaborate your achievements and successes with tangible data that clearly paints the picture for the reader. For instance, if you looking for a sales job, and the advert stated that the incumbent should open and manage remote markets. You can, therefore, mention how you launched and managed new branches. You should be able to show how this experience will be relevant to the new employer.
How to talk about salary in the cover letter
There are times when employers request candidates to state their current/previous remuneration and what they expect. Employers ask for these details for various reasons. Some employers use it as a filter for candidates since they already have existing budgets for the role. Others want to know where they fall in the market reward scale and the value attached to certain candidates in a certain industry. The best way to provide the required information is through the Cover letter because it gives you the space for state your conditions. For instance you can say. “my current gross salary is Kshs.55,000. I am expecting a 15% – 40% increase on the same, based on the duties and responsibilities of the role and possibility of other benefits.”
That being said, it is evident that a fresh cover letter for each job application. You can have the general document that lists your achievements, experience and skills, but you will need to customize each time to suit a particular job advert. Updating your Cover letter with every application makes you relevant and increases your chances of getting an interview.
How should you send a Cover letter?
With the changing trends in technology, most job applications have switched from manual to online applications. This means that most employers require applications to be made online. To ensure that your cover letter is read by the employer, copy and paste it on the email body, and also send an attachment of the same. This way, your Cover letter will be the first thing the employer will see when they open their email. This is more effective than the cliché ‘Kindly find attached my CV and Cover letter’ phrase used by most candidates.
What is the difference between a cover letter and an application letter?
Truth is, there is no difference between and cover letter and an application letter. The purpose of these documents is the same, despite the differing names. It is a document sent alongside a CV during a job application process.
Another point to note is that the length of a cover letter matters a lot. It should be a brief summary of why you are the most suitable candidate, not an opportunity to give your whole work experience history. State experience, skills and qualifications that are relevant to the role you are applying for only.
In conclusion, make your cover letter attractive and interesting to read for the potential employer. Give them confidence in your skills, experience, sense of logic and relevance to the role they look to fill. This is the only way to attract and keep their interest in you as a candidate.