A cover letter is an opportunity for you to stand out from the sea of other candidates.
You have spent hours in creating just the right resume for that dream job in the dream company you have always wanted. As you sit down to write your cover letter, you ask yourself — will anyone really
read my cover letter, or will they make their way to my resume first? How much of effort should I put into the cover letter?
So here are the facts. Firstly, cover letters not only get read, but are also the most important part of any job application. It is a very good opportunity to speak directly to the company and its decision-
makers about your uniqueness in terms of capabilities, and tell them why they should hire you above anybody else.
Here are some tips to create outstanding cover letters.
every job calls for a fresh cover letter.
It may be quick and convenient to use the same cover letter for all your applications. But doing so doesn’t tell your prospective employers how you are excited about the specific position and organization you are applying to. So, take that tiny extra effort to custom create your covering letters.
Avoid using the; 'to whom it may concern’ introduction — find the name or title of the hiring manager, and address your letter accordingly.
This will set you apart from others, and give you the opportunity to show that you are one of the better candidates for the job.
make it short and impactful.
Like all of us, hiring managers don't have the time to read beyond a page. It is therefore wise to make sure that your cover letter is brief, relevant and structured well.
Do not ‘lift and shift’ parts of your resume to your cover letter — this is a completely separate space to fill. Make the opening memorable, engaging and aligned to the job you are applying for. You can
mention how you found this opportunity, and give your ‘why’ of pursuing it in an authentic way. This will provide insights into your beliefs and values.
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talk about the value you can bring to the company.
Take the effort to research and understand the organization, and the role you are applying for. Now, spell out how you are well matched to what they are looking for be it in terms of your educational
qualifications, your niche skills or specialized training, your experience, etc.
Study the job description for pointers, select the top three to five critical requirements they have mentioned, and amplify how you are best suited to deliver what they are looking for.
leave a strong impression with the closing.
The line, “I look forward to hearing from you”, could not be more ineffective and unimpressive. The way you close your covering letter is a final opportunity to show how you are different, and how you would fit better than the other applicants. Use this part of your letter to add small but important details — such as your willingness to work from different locations, your curiosity to know more and take on
But know the difference between being confident and proactive, and being overbearing or over- selling yourself. Be professional and do not use hyperbolic language.
go through it again — and again.
Proof-read for spelling, grammar and typo errors. Do not use abbreviations or acronyms. Also, edit the cover letter for the message it conveys, the tone in which it talks to the reader, and the
reaction it evokes. Does it show your integrity and enthusiasm? Does it project you (without overselling you) as a better person for the job?
It is important to send the cover letter according to the instructions given in the job posting.
If it asks for the cover letter and resume to be sent as an email attachment, do so as a Word or PDF file with your email message. If the requirement is to submit the documents through an online
application system, look at the type of document that the system asks for.
Writing a cover letter takes purposeful effort. But one thing for sure — it’s absolutely important to invest time and effort to create a professional application. That’s how you can make the right impression.
All the best!