What is a cover letter and how to design the perfect cover letter
Searching for a job is a tedious and tiresome process. But your hassles can be lessened a lot and this journey can be made into a smooth ride if you do your research well and prepare accordingly. Writing a perfect cover letter is also one such task.
What is a cover letter?
A cover letter is an introductory letter attached to another document like a resume or a CV. It is an additional document containing supplementary information on your experience and skills. But there are a lot of dilemmas and questions on cover letter writing. In this digital era, is there even a need for the cover letter! We are here to help you with all these questions and guide you through to create a decent cover letter.
Firstly let us answer the question- Is cover letter even required amidst today’s digitalization?
The answer is yes. Not writing a cover letter is a sign of laziness. Adding a cover letter gives you an edge and helps you stand out in the crowd. It’s a medium to distinguish yourself.
The objective of the cover letter is to make the reader curious enough to read your CV/ Resume. Also, some recruiters might not even look at your resume if you do not provide them with a cover letter! So you might not even get a chance to get selected for the interview.
Based on the letter along with your resume, you would be assessed by the hiring managers. So You must put your best foot forward and create a letter that can engage the reader thus helping you to land the job that you want. Also, it must include relevant professional experience along with a persuasive touch.
Now that we know the importance of a cover letter let us move on to what do recruiters and hiring managers to look for in a cover letter.
The main point of writing the cover letter is to let the managers know – who you are, your interest in the position and why you are a good fit for the job. If your letter gets you a tick in all the three points you are good to go. A good cover letter can certainly help you land the interview and take you a step closer to getting hired.
Before you start writing, do your research first. Find out about the company, the job description, job role, etc. You can visit the company website for the same or also can talk to the existing employees of the organization if you know any. You should also do additional research like the existing challenges faced by the company and how can you as an employee help them tackle it.
Format of cover letter – We would bifurcate the anatomy of a cover letter in seven parts
- Letter header
- Opening salutation
- Intro paragraph
- Body paragraph
- Closing paragraph
- Call to action
- Signing off
Start with your name at the top center of a cover letter along with your contact details. It can be in same style as your resume. Ensure to enter the correct contact details. Also, use a professional email handle, create one if you are not having it.
This consists of the receiver’s name, title, and the company’s name. If you do not know the name of the hiring manager, do not include it. But you can always make an effort to find out the name of the recruiter. You can start with Dear Sir or Madam/ Dear Mr. Jon/ to whomsoever it may concern. Avoid using ‘to whomsoever it may concern’ as it sounds a bit cold and you don’t want to create a negative first impression.
Recruiters spend less than a minute to look at your resume and cover letter both. With thousands of applications for the same post, you must have an attention-grabbing intro paragraph to create a lasting impression. Also, make sure that your cover letter makes up to half or two-thirds of the page and not more than that.
The intro para must consist of your name, position you are applying for, how and where you found the opening, etc.
You should try starting with a unique opening line to seize the recruiter’s attention. You can start with –
- I am (Your name) and writing to express my interest in the position of ….
- I am writing in retort to your ad for….
- I am (Your name) and I am writing to enquire as to whether there are any vacancies….
Introducing yourself – Apart from your name you must also add your current job status or if you are a fresher- your educational qualification.
- You can write it as follows-
- I am currently working as ….
- I am currently studying at….
- At present, I am working at …..
- My responsibilities at (your company’s name) include….
Also do not forget to include why you are interested in the job and what makes you a good fit for the same.
This paragraph is of huge importance and helps the recruiter understand the depth of your research and time invested in it. List the responsibilities of your position, your skills, projects you participated in, etc. You can also include any achievements or so and highlight them. Use a persuasive and compelling language and try not to repeat information from the resume.
You can write as follows –
- I believe that I can be an ideal candidate for this position….
- I am very eager to work with such a determined company like yours ….
- I consider myself an honest, enthusiastic and efficient worker ….
Persuade and re-Emphasise on why you are interested in the position and why you are the perfect candidate for the role. Also describe in one or two lines if hired, how you would benefit the company and contribute to its growth and development.
6.Call to action:
Encourage the recruiter to move forward with your application by inviting them to follow up with you. Also, thank them for reviewing your application and cover letter.
You can write as follows –
- Thank you for showing interest and taking out your precious time to consider my application ….
- Should you require further information, please feel free to contact me at at….
- If you wish to contact me, do so at (your contact information)
- Please find the CV/ resume attached …. (If email)
- Lastly, end your cover letter with a closing statement-
You can simply write –
- Looking forward to hearing from you soon.
- Also, you can write yours sincerely in place of faithfully.
Cover letter review: After you are done writing do not press the send button right away. Read your cover letter again and check for any grammatical mistakes. Also, look for spelling mistakes and incomplete or wrong sentence formation. Use proper punctuation and send it only when you are completely sure of it.
Additional tips: Here are some additional tips to make your cover letter more powerful-
- Do not use the same cover letter for each job you apply. A lot of people do not know the importance of making appropriate changes while applying for different jobs even though of the same domain. You need to customize and personalize the cover letter every time before you press the send icon on your laptop. Yes, this would take time, but it would be time spent well.
- When you are writing the letter, imagine the person you are writing it to is sitting opposite to you and having a conversation with you. This way you would not need to think a lot and words would come to you easily.
- A major mistake done by a lot of people is attaching your cover letter along with your resume in an email. And they put in an introductory in the email as – I am XYZ and I have attached my cover letter and resume along with the mail. No this is wrong. It is like having a cover letter for the cover letter. As soon as the recruiter opens his mail, he must see the cover letter in the mail’s writing area along with the resume as the attachment. Try removing all these unnecessary obstacles coming in between you getting hired
- Get your cover letter reviewed and make sure it has no errors. The easiest way is to get it checked by any other person.
- During mass, recruitments try not to share your letter with colleagues as they might copy it and the whole purpose of creating your letter would be lost.
- About the writing style- try not to make it too formal or too friendly. If you sound too formal it might come across as distant and cold. If you sound too friendly well that’s not good either.
- Try using sentences using an active form rather than passive –E.g. rather than saying I was studying at XYZ university, you can write that I studied at XYZ university for 3 years ….
- Also, try avoiding using cliché words like very, also do not use emoticons and other such stuff in the cover letter.
The cover letter thus is an extremely crucial component and if made correctly increases your chances to get a call for the interview by a significant amount. Also, your cover letter must make the recruiters curious enough to go through your application and spend time on it. Your cover letter must not be a long boring paragraph but crisp, to the point with relevant data. We also went through the anatomy of a cover letter, follow that and you are good to go. Along with this, I provided you with additional pointers on how to make your cover letter more appealing. With all this data and sufficient research on the company, you are all set to create a decent cover letter.
I hope you found this article useful and got what you needed. Now go out and write a good cover letter. Good luck with your job search!