A CV is a multiple page resume, it contains all information about your academics, achievements, jobs, aspirations etc. since a CV is very long it usually comes with a cover letter which summarizes the information in the CV in one page.
The cover letter tells what the cv is about and gives general information about yourself to the recruiter. Its like a message which provides information about yourselves and why you are interested to work in the company and apply for that particular position. A well written cover letter may help you stand out from the crowd.
Why cover letters are important
- Its your own story book
A cover letter will tell the hiring manager about you before you get a chance to meet him. It will provide a first impression of yourself to him. You can show you r qualifications and convince the hiring manager how you are fit for the job. If you have made a career change or are starting fresh it all can be told through your cover letter.
It’s an opportunity to present yourself positively and to gain the trust of the employer.
- It gives you a chance to explain your referrals
You may have applied for this job and try to get it using someone you know. In a cover letter you can explain how you came to know about the job, how you met the referral because of which you applied for this job. You can clear the doubts in hiring manager’s mind by just a piece of paper and how you write it.
- It helps establish a relationship with the employer
If you are the only person who has sent a cover letter than you might shine out from the others. The employer will spot you out and will form a positive mental image of you in his mind. It will automatically establish a relationship with the employer.
When to send a cover letter –
- If it is stated in the job application to attach a cover letter than you obviously should, but if they say it is optional than also it is better to send one along.
- When you have applied for a job and have ben called for an interview it is good to have a cover letter handy in case the interviewer needs it.
- When you know the hiring manager and his address which you might have got through an informal referral you can post a cover letter directly to his place.
- Send the cover letter to the indirect referral who can then forward it to the intended person.
How to write a cover letter
The meaning of cover letter hasn’t changed but with the spurt in technology the way of writing it has changed. Instead of sending hard copies they can be emailed or set as a personalised note on your profile in job searching websites.
You should be able to express your genuine interest in the job through your cover letter. You should also be able to assure them that you are the person for the job. Each cover letter should be unique and should fit the job description. Following are dome dos and don’ts for writing a cover letter
- Research a bit about the company before writing the letter-
This way you would have a vague picture of the place you might work in and you can thus put pints that relate to the company, adding value to your cover letter. You should bear in mind the organisation’s culture. Values, rules etc while writing the cover letter
- Make sure it is personalised-
Don’t just copy paste a cover letter and send it for each job. Personalize it with information that is important for different jobs. The interviewer is well experienced and can spot out easily which cover letters were mass produced and which are unique.
- Your introduction should be strong-
It takes 3 seconds for the hiring manger to gain or lose interest. Make sure that your first line itself grabs his attention. Stat with your qualification and unique traits that are helpful for the job and why you think that this job is perfect for you. The hiring manager should get intrigued by just reading your introduction.
- Mention referrals
If you have connections inside the company or you came across this job through a friend who is working there than mention it.
- Subject line
Change the subject line for each job. And see the application if you have to add something specific do so.
- Use keywords-
Use the keywords written in the application but at the same e time don’t overdo them.it will look to desperate and immature.
- Add contact information
This goes without saying that you have to add your information, email id, name, age etc so that they can contact you easily whenever needed.
- Professional greetings-
Don’t start with dear and end with lovingly NO. it’s a formal letter so make sure your greetings are to. Start with respected and end with yours sincerely/faithfully and your full name.
- Check grammar and spelling
You don’t want your first impression to be bad. If the cover letter has some basic spellings and grammar mistake it will look very badly on your part. So, check and recheck a hundred times before submitting.
- Don’t write in the third person. its al letter from you to the employer. It should sound professional and writing in third person proves it to be les relatable and engaging.
- Don’t use word arts or fancy texts. It’s a simple document make sure the font is readable and is not much colourful. It is supposed t be mature and formal.
- Don’t flatter a lot. It makes you look like insecure, insincere social-climber. Flattery is good but to a certain level.
- Don’t drag the letter. It is supposed to be a summary of the cover letter and making it long will make the reader uninterested in what is written. Keep it short and to the point.
- Don’t write what is in your CV as it will become repetitive, Though the point should be same it should still be different than your CV
Here is an e.g. of a good cover letter-
Writing a cover letter is important whether asked or not. Not many candidates will make the efforts of making one, especially a personalised one. It will make you standout and will form a good first impression and as we know “first impression is the last impression”.