You have the perfect CV, in the right format and relevant details showcasing your skills and selling your unique strengths. How about a cover letter? A cover letter is meant to act as a sales pitch, summarizing all the skills, experience and capabilities as listed on the CV. It gives you the opportunity to tell a story. It should be brief and straight to the point. Most candidates make the mistake of copy-pasting the same cover letter for all the jobs applied for. This is a huge error and it’s where most candidates go wrong. A cover letter adds focus to your resume.
In most job adverts it is a requirement for one to send their CV and Cover Letter. Unfortunately, most candidates don’t know the purpose of this letter. They treat a cover letter as just any other document required in the application process. For those who know the reason of having one, they make mistakes when sending out the application and as a result, employers and recruiters end up not reading them.
In this article, reasons for accompanying a CV with a cover letter are explained. Understanding what to write is only half the battle, it is necessary to know how to send this important document so that employers don’t have a choice but to read it. This way, you’ll increase the chances of getting an interview.
The Importance of A Cover Letter
- It allows you to customize your application to the job you are applying to. This explains why using the same cover letter over and over never lands you the job. Always read and understand the job you are applying for and use it as a guide in drafting your cover letter.
- Ensure that your cover letter acts as the perfect tool to explain yourself to the employer. Describe what makes you fit into the role and how your skills match the job and the company you want to work for. It should never be a copy paste of your CV.
- Make your cover letter make your prospective employer want to know more about you. Use it as a teaser to engage the interest of the employer so they are interested to check out what you have in the CV. Present your opportunities and accomplishments without giving it all out.
Employers dislike long paragraphs so ensure that you follow the following principles to writing a great cover letter!
- Be brief
- Identify yourself
- Exhibit your passion
- Sell your qualifications
- Make it easy to read
Whether you are a fresh graduate or a senior level career individual, you need a cover letter. There’s no exception since employers and recruiters expect to see one. Here is how to get the important document to work for you;
Information to Include In Cover Letters
Addressing Cover Letters
Your full name, home address and the application date should be at the top. Then state the name or job title, company name and address of the employing organisation. Address the letter stating the name of the person; if unknown use the Sir/Madam title. The subject line should indicate the job position you’re applying for and the job reference number (if given). Ensure proper pronunciation and punctuation as it showcases your writing abilities.
The first paragraph should simply state why you are writing to them. If it is an advertised position, mention the position title stating where it was advertised. An easy way to start this paragraph is with the following statement: “I write to you regarding the above position, as advertised on BrighterMonday.” You should also state the job position and your highest qualification for the job.
It should comprise of two to three paragraphs at most. Summarize your experience and skills as well as respond to the position requirements in a few sentences. Highlight how specialized you are, your experience and how you are the perfect match for the job. Paint a picture by giving examples stating precisely how you accomplished a given task listing actions and the positive results of those actions. Remember to always sell yourself.
This is where you ask for an interview, showing your willingness to work for that particular company/organisation. It should also state how they can reach you, thanking the recipient for taking their time to read and review your application. Finish the letter by adding a closing remark, either “yours sincerely” or “yours faithfully”. Leave a space for your signature and then place your full name.
How to Send A Cover Letter
95% of employers will expect you to make an online application. With that in mind, how should you send a cover letter? For maximum impact, always copy paste the contents of the cover letter in the email body. The reason why you should copy paste is because the cover letter should be the first thing a recruiter reads when they open your email. And it’s a much better way of introducing yourself than having one line saying please find attached my CV and cover letter.
From the above, you can see that you need a different cover letter for every job. It is okay to have a general cover letter that summarises your skills, achievements and strong points but always make an effort to tweak an application to fit the specific needs of an employer. No two jobs or employers are the same, even when they are from the same industry. It’s through the cover letter that you demonstrate the skills, attitude and expertise to perform the job as per the expectations of the employer. And employer’s expectations are outlined in the job description/advert.