In many job applications, cover letter can be equally important as Resume is. Ignoring cover letter can cost you that dream job you’ve been waiting for all your life. So make sure you follow all the useful tips mentioned below and put all your effort in making an impressive well written cover letter that can get you that dream job.
Constructing the perfect cover letter
– By Vikas Rana
A cover letter is a vital component of your overall application when you wish to find jobs or when vying for a position as it highlights your skills, experience, accomplishments, and your reasoning for why you are applying for the position. Unlike a résumé, a cover letter will always need to be altered to give a job seeker the best chance of landing an interview, and hopefully their dream job. Not all cover letters are equal, and there are certainly more than a handful of ways to write and set them out. However, there are many tips and tricks job seekers can utilise in order to stand out, impress and show confidence.
Do you need a cover letter?
Yes. Candidates who don’t submit a cover letter are almost guaranteed not be given a second look by a hiring manager. Not only does it show laziness, but it also robs the hiring manager the chance to learn a little more about a candidate’s experience and reasoning behind wanting to apply for the position. Think of a cover letter as a sales tool that will determine whether a résumé will be read or not. A cover letter can give a hiring manager valuable information regarding a candidate’s past experiences, examples of their skills in action, goals and a preview of what kind of person the candidate is. So it’s important to always write a cover letter and put in the time and effort make it great.
Not including a cover letter can also be a wasted opportunity, as this is where candidates are able to tell of how they used their skills and experience in past roles to be an efficient employee. A résumé may give a hiring manager a brief idea of a candidate’s skills, but without a cover letter to tie it together, it’s all a waste of effort.
Do your research
Starting with the overused “Dear Sir/Madam” can be considered a cardinal sin when it comes to writing a cover letter. Not only does it feel impersonal, but it also shows how little effort has been put into the cover letter overall. Of course, not every company’s information is easily accessible, especially when it comes to knowing who exactly will be looking at the cover letters and résumés.
However, even if a candidate needs to call the company and personally ask , the chances are a cover letter not addressed to a specific person will blend into a sea of other unimpressive cover letters. Knowing about a company’s workplace and learning a bit about their policies, beliefs and services shows that a candidate has gone that extra mile and that they truly want to work for that company.
With that said, research shouldn’t be confined to just the company, as job seekers need to also look at the job advertisement for clues on how to construct the appropriate cover letter. One handy tip is to look for keywords and patterns within the job posting and incorporate them into the cover letter and résumé. Pulling common phrases and keywords out and putting them into a cover letter will dramatically increase a candidate’s odds of being selected for an interview, as hiring managers are ultimately scanning for them.
Utilise bullet points
As with a résumé, it’s likely that very few people will look over your cover letter in full, so it’s important to put all important information near the top and to be as straight to the point as possible. Bullet points allow candidates to do just that with relative ease, saving space while filtering everything down into an easily digestible format.
With more space for experience, skills and qualifications, a résumé without bullet points will usually look like a wall of boring text or a barren wasteland of a few trivial sentences. The main point here is to take advantage of the extra space available while still presenting everything in an uncluttered and sophisticated fashion.
Customise your pitch
Hiring managers can see through a cookie-cutter cover letter template or one where a job seeker simply doesn’t care about the job they’re applying for with ease. Hiring managers have looked through thousands of cover letters and résumés and if a job seeker personally thinks they can get away with it, the best of luck to them. They’ll need it. Creativity and good, old-fashioned tenacity can get a person far when writing a cover letter, as the “I would like to express interest in your current position” mantra simply will not cut it in this day and age.
In saying this, it’s possible to customise a cover letter a little too much. Having a wall of text or an overly haughty tone to a cover letter can send the wrong message. There is a fine line between being confident and being boastful, so it’s best to make sure there’s balance.
Things to avoid in a cover letter
As well as what you should do for your cover letter, there are also many things you should avoid that could save you from missing out on your dream job:
- Focusing too much on yourself. Avoid the unholy trinity of “me, myself and I”.
- Be concise and avoid unnecessary words.
- Including personal information.
- Regurgitating what your résumé says.
- Being too formal.
- Having a wall of text.
- Using fancy fonts instead of Arial or New Times Roman etc.
- Using a cookie-cutter template.
- Bad-mouthing previous employers
- A picture of yourself