Everything You Need To Know About Cover Letters

Resume Cover LettersYou’re probably thinking to yourself that this is a waste of time, after all, everyone knows that you should send a cover letter alongside your resume when you’re applying for a job.

The only thing you’re “spared” the “ordeal” of having to write a cover letter is when a web application constrains you.

While you may think you know everything there is to know about cover letters, the fact you think writing one is an ordeal says the exact opposite.

A good cover letter can be equally as important as getting you the job as a good resume, sometimes more. It is your one chance to tell your story.

While the resume deals with the facts, the cover letters paint a picture and create interest. Still, think it’s a waste of time?

If you’ve been curious about cover letters, wish to expand your knowledge about them, or want to improve your skills in writing them, then here’s all you need to know about cover letters.

What is a Cover Letter?

A cover letter is a brief descriptive essay you send alongside your resume to provide additional information on your experience and skills. The letter is your chance to explain why you’re the right person for the job you’re applying for.

Why are Cover Letter Important?

Cover letters give you the opportunity to target the employer and the job in a particular way, giving your resume room to market your qualities, skills, and experience. This means you won’t have to tweak your resume for every application as the cover letter, seeing as it must be different every time already has that covered (pun not intended).

Essentially, a cover letter is your opportunity to make a good first impression on the employer.

What should I add to Cover Letter?

In the cover letter, you should state as clearly and as concisely, why you should be awarded the job. The bare necessities that your cover letter should contain include:

  • Your name
  • Contact details
  • The name of the recipient of the letter
  • The name of their company
  • The recipients contact details
  • The position of the job you’re applying for
  • A list of all your required and relevant skills
  • A summary stating why you’re the perfect fit for the job
  • An appeal for them to read your resume and a call to action

Should I send a Cover Letter even if it isn’t stated?

Some people have the belief that they should only send a cover letter if it were asked for specifically. They believe that the employer will find all the information relevant to the employment within the CV.

Unfortunately, those people thought wrong.  Cover letters are an import part of applying for a job, and as a bonus, they give you the chance to share additional information that may not be best for a resume.

Do Email Applications also require Cover Letters?

When you’re applying by email, cover letters also play a significant role. You can send them as an attachment together with your resume, or you can write it on the body of the email.

Tips on Writing Cover Letters

If you’re just starting off your career, a one-page cover letter with four paragraphs is more than enough. Here are a few tips on writing the four paragraphs.

First Paragraph

Carry out a brief introduction; tell them who you are (are you a graduate or Ph.D. student? A researcher? A writer? Let them know) and the job you’re applying for.

Second and Third Paragraphs

Here you’ll want to start painting a picture that shows the particular expertise, skills, and experience you plan to bring into the company. You should also give reasons for why you want the job. The Second and Third Paragraphs are the heart of your cover letter so it should focus on the things you can do for them. It’s what companies care most about.

Fourth Paragraph

In the fourth paragraph, you want to make plans for a follow-up. In most cases, you can place yourself in an active role instead of waiting passively by the computer or phone.  You can add that you’ll be following up with a telephone call or an e-mail message in the coming week so you can arrange a time to meet up.

As you proofread and revise your letter, don’t forget its purpose; to get you an interview. A good cover letter should convince the reader that you can satisfy the needs of the employer better than anyone else.

What you shouldn’t add to a Cover Letter

Here are a couple of mistakes you want to avoid in your cover letter:

  • Placing too much emphasis on what the company can do for you
  • Using filler or brochure language
  • Too much self-evaluation
  • Not presenting your strengths in a confident manner

Conclusion

It is important to find your voice when writing a cover letter. Use the right words, don’t try and show off with fancy words, and most importantly, don’t try to be cute.

You’re applying for a job with a company so keep it professional.

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