A cover letter is a means of introducing yourself in a memorable, intimate way during a work interview. A well-written cover letter builds on the material on your resume, leading the reader on a guided tour of some of the best work and life accomplishments.
When beginning to write a cover letter, it is often wise to prepare the substance of the letter depending on the work specifications. This guide would go through the following topics: the basic elements of a good cover letter, how to compose a unique cover letter, what to include in cover letters, what not to include, and how to apply your cover letter.
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What exactly is a cover letter?
The cover letter is the first presentation to the individual who may recruit you, and it should aim to make you as unique as possible in a positive way.
The purpose of your resume is to spell out the truth, but the purpose of your cover letter is to express more personality.
That involves creating a new cover letter for each job you apply for. There are no models. There will be no pre-written garbage. The style of your letter should also be appropriate for the business and sector to which you are applying.
There is no “official format” for your cover letter or the material it contains, but it should be visually ordered and orderly in its presentation of information.
Effective cover letters look more like this:
Introduction to remember.
Examples of relevant work completed and problems solved that are specific and well-organized.
Conclusion in a nutshell and a call to action.
The rest is all up to you. Good cover letters show that you are fit for the job by sharing stories that demonstrate your talents and expertise, which we will discuss in the following segment, “What to Include in Your Cover Letter.”
What Does a Cover Letter Contain?
Your cover letter should be a beautifully selected collection of stories about your experience that offer the reader a good picture of who you are and how you can bring value to their organization. You do not want to cram your whole career and life into a letter.
According to a report conducted by the Society for Human Resources on resumes, cover letters, and interviews, the top three items that must be included in a cover letter are:
- How a candidate’s career history corresponds to the job qualifications.
- How well a candidate’s qualifications match the work criteria.
- Why an applicant needs to work for the company
This detail should be used in the cover letter, and you should leave the reader confident that you are the best person for the role.
To do so, use the work criteria to direct the substance of your cover letter and adhere to these best practices.
1. Demonstrate your ability to solve complex problems.
Saying you’re a “problem solver” is just as useful as saying that you like chocolate croissants to normal croissants. Don’t warn them of your incredible problem-solving abilities.
Explain the specifics of a situation you were instrumental in resolving and how you used your skills to do it. Or still, if you feel the organization has a specific challenge you can help overcome, outline how you can assist in resolving it.
2. Choose a suitable sound and voice.
You should write in your own language, but you should also use the right voice and style for the organization to which you are submitting.
Researching the firm will help you choose the tone you want to use, which can vary considerably based on where you apply. The tone of your cover letter with a law consultancy company, for example, would most certainly vary from that of a tech entrepreneur.
Telling tales in your cover letter about your experience is an excellent way to show your abilities while also providing recruiting managers with insight into your attitude and job style.
Often look at the job description for the qualifications for the role when searching for the best stories to share.
It is also beneficial to do further online research on the organization to get a feel of its history. Compare your qualifications to the job specifications before writing your cover letter.
It may be beneficial to use Venn diagrams to brainstorm to determine which competencies to illustrate and which personal insights to share.
Overlapping topics will guide and encourage the content of your cover letter after you create this diagram and describe what falls within both circles.
Assume you’re applying for the position of marketing officer. Among other things, the work needs many years of communications experience, a thorough understanding of lead generation, and good leadership skills.
Describe how, in your former position as a brand strategist, you ran many campaigns for your clients and met their lead generation targets (with precise figures, if possible), as well as how you taught and mentored new associates on how to handle their accounts, which increased customer retention rates.
Your anecdote accomplishes a lot at once: it demonstrates one of your top hard skills, lead nurturing, and demonstrates how you can work with trainees, connect efficiently, and advise potential hires on procedures and customer relations. You’re demonstrating that you have the organizational skills and communications experience they’re looking for.
4. The only policy is honesty.
It is not in your best interests to be dishonest in your cover letter.
If you imply or state that you have a talent that you do not have, it will come back to haunt you when you are asked to use that skill in an interview or on the job.
5. Don’t sound like anyone else.
“My name is. I am a detail-oriented, multi-tasking, natural-born leader who is ideal for your organization.”
Hiring managers can read the same simple cover letter over and over again, and you don’t want to be the last sample email the hiring manager discounts before lunch. Adding a little word difference makes you stand out from the crowd.
Instead of saying you’re artistic, say you’re inventive. You’re imaginative more than creative. You’re tenacious, not determined. These term combinations demonstrate, at the very least, that you should think about what the average candidate can do.
6. Finish with a call to action.
Finish the letter by giving them a reason to contact you. However, should not have statements such as “I’ll call to arrange an interview.” This does not make you a go-getter; rather, it crosses a line.
Instead, make the call to action friendly and open-ended, implying that you are eager to give more details and that you are looking forward to speaking with them.
7. Always proofread.
Always proofread the cover letter for mistakes, and make friends and relatives read it as well.
How Do You Make Your Cover Letter Stand Out?
Keep the following comments in mind when you consider how to make the letter stand out:
- Make your letter one-of-a-kind and show the reader who you are as an individual.
- Include knowledge and expertise that are closely related to the career posting.
Both may seem to be contradictory comments, but they are both necessary for writing a good cover letter.
Your cover letter should be extremely relevant to the position you’re applying for, but how you prove your credentials should reflect who you are as a person.
8. Tell a good story.
Recruiters and recruiting managers are no exception when it comes to enjoying a good tale. Telling compelling stories from your past will make your cover letter special and unforgettable to whoever reads it.
Just make sure that the stories you pick reflect mastery of the skills, techniques, and principles needed for the work you’re applying for.
What is it about this business that makes it your first choice? What makes this business exclusive to you? Perhaps you are drawn to the workplace tradition, or perhaps you have always respected the company’s management philosophy.
9. Use the recruiter’s or recruiting manager’s full name.
When approaching the recruiter, it is now appropriate to simply say “Dear Sir/Madam” or “To Whom It May Concern.” In reality, I can tell you from personal experience that most people use these very terms. However, I can assure you that the majority of people do not get the job.
Take the opportunity to learn who you’re addressing if you want to leave a good impact.
You will need to make a few phone calls or do multiple searches before you find the correct name, but the more difficult they are to find, the less likely other candidates can do so and the happier they will be with you.
10. Give your cover letter a one-of-a-kind graphic format.
A one-of-a-kind graphic format for your cover letter will make you stand out from the crowd. Only be sure that the one-of-a-kind format you choose is suitable for the business and market to which you are applying.
What Do You Leave Out of a Cover Letter?
Recruiters and recruiting managers read thousands of letters and applications, please prevent the following letter mistakes:
1. Avoid using overused words.
The typical cover letter will be overly repetitive and will include overused phrases such as “Thank you for taking the time to look at my resume” or “I feel that my collection of qualifications make me a perfect candidate for the role.” Although neither of these lines will hurt the chances of getting the job, they will also not help.
According to career coach Angela Copeland, “avoid words that are used to irritate recruiting managers, such as ‘hard lifting,’ ‘think outside the box,’ or team player.”
Here are a few more words that irritate recruiters and recruiting managers:
- “To Whom It May Concern,”
- “I’m not sure whether you’re aware”
- “Please be at ease.”
- “conscious,” “specific” and “Forward-Thinker”
- “Genuinely, profoundly”
Recruiters and recruiting managers read hundreds of cover letters and get bored of the same phrases. They’re looking for something different and exciting, and it’s in your best interest to have it.
2. Never include meaningless data.
In your cover letter, never contain unnecessary material. Irrelevant material may be confusing or boring to the public, leading them to overlook key points in the cover letter.
How Can I Submit a Cover Letter?
The longer you “hang on” a letter to rewrite and re-write it, the longer someone else has to compete for the interest of the recruiting manager you want to please.
You can send in your cover letter as soon as you are confident of the following:
- The cover letter, resume, and portfolio work are all error-free.
- A cover letter strikes a balance between professionalism and personality.
- Your cover letter grabs the reader’s attention from the first line and keeps it throughout.
- The work qualifications and company details serve as a reference for the quality of your letter.
- Your cover letter shares stories of examples that meet career expectations and help you stand out favorably as a person and a future employee.
Sending in the letter
When sending your cover letter, do follow the submission directions outlined in the job description.
If you’re sending the letter via a website with fillable fields, make sure there are no coding or text errors.