What is a cover letter when applying for a job?
A cover letter is an accompanying letter with your resume to introduce yourself to an employer and tell them why you’re the best person for the job. For some jobs, it use to be a required thing while for some others, it may be optional. If not asked, you can use the same as the body of the email when sending a resume. Unlike resumes, a cover letter should be more targeted and focussed for the particular job you are applying for. Having a laser-focused and relevant cover letter can stands out your application from your peers and helps catch the eye of such recruiters and hiring managers.
Why cover letter is important?
In most cases, a cover letter acts as the first contact you have with a prospective employer. A well-written, focussed and targeted cover letter can entice the employer to read your resume with greater interest and will improve your chances of getting an interview. Many candidates use to apply for jobs without a cover letter when it is optional and miss many great opportunities. The job market has become more global and there is high competition among candidates. This had caused the hiring managers and recruiters more stress and leaving less time to review all. So, it is your duty to organize your covering letter making them easily find what they are looking for without much search and becoming distracted.
What is the purpose of a cover letter?
The purpose of the cover letter is to introduce yourself to an organization, demonstrate your interest in the company or a specific job posting, draw attention to your resume and motivate the reader to interview you. The focus should not be to get a job as you are not going to get one with a cover letter. Instead, focus to attract their attention and convince them that you need to be interviewed. There are many limitations with your resume to share your excitement for a particular job or company. Even though you customize your resume for each job, it follows a template and a format and used to be almost same. But that’s not the case with cover letter. The cover letter uses to be custom written for each application, highly focused and can provide much information about you that other materials can’t convey. You can also use your cover letter to weave a narrative between your different work experiences. And show how those can add value to the job you are applying. If you are not submitting a targeted letter for each application, then you are submitting an ineffective job application.
What to include in a cover letter?
The cover letter typically consists of three parts: the introduction part, one or two body paragraphs, and a closing paragraph. Within these three parts you must include:
- Your excitement on why this job and why this company
- Why you are ideal for this position
- One to three achievements or accomplishments that are most relevant to the position.
- Ask for an interview or an opportunity to engage with them to demonstrate more.
- A call to action to contact you (phone numbers or/and email)
How long should a cover letter be?
An ideal cover letter should be of one full page with three to four paragraphs. You can have a word count ranging somewhere between 250-400 words. Don’t go for a too short generic cover letter or long unfocused cover letter. Respect employers time and add only the details that are relevant to the position.