What sets your CV apart from the pile is your cover letter. Other than listing your information, educational background, and accomplishments like you do in your CV, your cover letter can show a little more of your character, who you are, and why you want the job and are perfect for it. The employer will learn more about you not only from what you say, but how you say it. A well-written cover letter could take you a long way so put some effort into making it. It could make the difference between getting noticed (and hired) and having your file get shuffled back into the pile.
But how exactly do you write a cover letter? Here are some tips:
1. Know who to address your letter to.
It is easier to get a reply when your letter is addressed to a particular person rather than an entire Human Resources department or company. Research online or try calling to ask who to address in your cover letter. Addressing your letter to the right person also shows that you made an effort to do things the right and proper way.
2. Start off with a short introduction and the job you are applying for.
Introduce yourself and state what position you are applying for in the company. You can also mention where you heard about the opening.
3. Talk about your understanding of the job/company. Make it personal.
Show them that you know what you are applying for and have read about and are genuinely interested in the company and position. Make it personal and do not simply lift phrases and keywords from the job description or company vision and mission statement.
4. Say why you fit the criteria required for the job.
Now, give a brief summary of your skills and why these are relevant to the position you are applying for. This is the time to show them what you’ve got! Be careful not to sound too overconfident. Back it up by saying where you learned your skills or where you have applied them in the past.
5. Keep it concise and clear.
Don’t try to impress them with your flowery words as this might just confuse them. The shorter amount of words needed to make a point, the better. Limit your cover letter to a half page or one page.
6. Encourage them to read your CV.
Invite them to read your CV and end by saying that you look forward to hearing from them soon.
7. Go over your cover letter to check for any spelling or grammatical errors.
Also, since you might be applying for various jobs at one point and just editing your cover letter accordingly, make sure you send the correct letter to the correct employer.
8. Lastly, make sure to include your full name and contact details.
Don’t make it difficult for them to contact you. Make sure that your contact details are easily available. Also, one last tip: Please use a formal email address. If you’re still using the one you made back in high school with words other than your name, then it’s about time to make a new one!
Good luck! Once those calls start coming in, it’s time to get ready for your interviews. Learn how to prepare for them here.