In most cases, it is important that you write a cover letter when applying for a job. It doesn’t matter what stage you are in your career, a cover letter will help you demonstrate your experience and fit for the position you are applying for. It is normally sent with your resume to provide additional information on your skills and experience. The idea is to think of it as a sales pitch that will market your credentials and help you get the interview. So you want to make sure that your letter gives a good first impression of you. Your cover letter is your opportunity to set yourself apart from the competition. Use this coveted space to demonstrate your experience, knowledge, and performance. Leave the hiring manager with no doubt that you could perform the job duties at the highest level.
Employers will often use cover letters as a way to screen applicants for a job and determine who they would eventually interview. So if a company requires a cover letter in their job posting or not, you may want to attach a cover letter anyway.
Your letter is addressed to the hiring manager so you should include a salutation and the name of the hiring manager. The only time when you do not do this is when know that the company’s culture is informal. If you do not know their name, a simple “Dear Ma” or “Dear Sir” should suffice.
The first few sentences of your cover letter can make or break your chance for an interview. The hiring manager might have dozens or hundreds of cover letter to go through and they have only a few seconds to skim your cover letter before moving on to the next candidate, so you want your first few sentences to be engaging and relevant to the position.
The trick is to start by introducing who you are demonstrate why you are the best person for the job, explain why you want the job and show a little personality. Effective cover letters explain the reasons for your interest in the specific organization and identify your most relevant skills or experiences. Determine relevance by carefully reading the job description, evaluating the skills required and matching them to your own skills.
After explaining your interests and strengths in relation to the position, proceed to talk about how your strengths or skills have helped your achievements as an individual. Also link your achievements to real business outcomes. Show that you are a suitable candidate for the position.
Finish off your letter with a call to action. Talk about how excited you are for the interview.
The ideal length of a cover letter is one page so you should try to fit everything you need to say that is relevant in this page. What’s even more important than your Cover Letter’s length is its grammar and punctuation. Be sure to proofread every part of the letter and ask someone you trust to do so too. You’ll make spelling and grammar mistakes. You’re only human. Proofreading your letter in detail is the best way to make sure no typos or embarrassing errors make it through to the hiring manager’s desk.
Lastly, you would want to sign off your cover letter in a professional and polite way. Easy examples are, Yours sincerely, Best regards, Kind regards etc.
Here’s a checklist you can use before sending out your cover letter.
- Include your name, professional title and full contact information.
- Include you core skills and achievement
- Remove all spelling, punctuation and grammar errors
- Your Cover Letter should be personalized for one position only. Do not use the same cover letter to apply for different positions
You are now well on your way to landing your first interview. Prepare yourself, research the company you are applying for, ace the interview and don’t forget to send an email after the interview. Good luck!