What is a Cover Letter?

When it comes to finding a job, you have to be able to produce a good quality document that highlights your qualifications. On a single job posting, there will be an expected of hundreds of submissions from interested applicants. Therefore, you have to make a letter that markets and sells you and your qualifications to the employer. You may also see formal letter examples and samples.

A well-written cover letter can make a big difference in enhancing your chances for that highly coveted interview. It will give you an edge over all the other applicants even if you have a weak resume. It will set the tone of your interest in the job and introduce yourself to the organization.

What is a Cover Letter?

A cover letter is an accompanying letter that comes along with your resume. It is a written document that serves as your introduction and provides additional information about your skills and experience. It is the written overview of what is on your CV or resume. You may also like email cover letter examples.

Aside from it being an introduction to your CV or resume it will also help set you apart from all the other applicants. It will showcase your interest in the company or in a specific vacancy, will catch the attention to your resume and may motivate the recruiter to interview you. You may also check out application letter examples & samples.

As the name implies, it covers the CV or resume as it is traditionally the front page of your documents. It complements the content of the CV or resume by expanding on items relevant to the job. And in essence, it is your written sales pitch as to why you’re the most qualified and fitted candidate for the job. You might be interested in professional cover letter examples.

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Purpose of a Cover Letter

Although it is typically a one-page document sent in together with your CV or resume, it holds a big responsibility. A cover letter is meant to:

  1. Draw attention to your resume.
  2. Demonstrate your interest in the company or job position.
  3. Introduce yourself to the hiring manager.
  4. Argue why you’d be a good fit for the job.
  5. Fill in places your resume cannot describe.
  6. Further explain other aspects of your resume

Contents of a Good Cover Letter

As mentioned earlier, it is important to include relevant and necessary information about you and your qualifications in the cover letter. Here are the most common and important contents of a cover letter:

  • Your personal details (e.g. name, address, phone number)
  • The hiring manager’s name (if you have it)
  • Where you found the vacancy.
  • Why you’re suitable for the job.
  • What you can do for the company.
  • Closing statements (including thanking the recruiter for their time)

You may also see business proposal letter examples.

Common Cover Letter Mistakes

It is necessary to always fact-check, proofread and edit your cover letter to avoid these common mistakes:

1. Getting Names Wrong

Although you are using only one cover letter for all the other jobs you are applying for, you obviously don’t want hiring managers to know this. Make sure that you have inputted the correct name and spelling of the hiring manager’s name in their respective company. This bit of carelessness can result in a rejected application. You may also like how to email a resume and cover letter.

2. Restating Your Resume

The purpose of your cover letter is to identify your skills and explain how your previous experience is relevant to the desired position. Simply restating what has been stated in your resume defeats the purpose of clearly explaining your expertise and background. A cover letter does not simply summarize your resume but build around the facts included in the resume in order to present a thorough description of your qualifications and credentials. You may also check out simple cover letter examples.

3. Unreasonable Length

Although you may think you have more information relevant to the position to offer in your letter, remember that hiring managers go through not less than a hundred applications a day. They simply do not have time to read a short story about your life. It is better to keep your letter tight, concise and informative. One page cover letter should be enough to effectively explain your credentials.

4. Adding Unnecessary Information

It is important to keep the focus of your letter to your relevant aspects to the job you are applying for. It is also advised to tailor or just tweak your cover letters in a way that it displays the most relevant skills and qualifications required for the job. Avoid including information that has no direct correlation with what the employer is looking for. Unnecessary information can be positive but personal things like your IQ, recreational accomplishments, interests, and hobbies (if they are not related to the job.) You may also see how do you address an email cover letter.

5. Identifying Weaknesses

Identifying your weaknesses is not unnecessary but also equivalent to digging your own grave. It is important to highlight your skills, qualifications, credentials, and not what makes you a liability instead of an asset. Not only is it a waste of space, it is also counterproductive and defeats the goals of an effective cover letter. You will surely lose the interest of the hiring manager if you include what your weaknesses are in your cover letter. You may also like what is an application letter?

6. Sounding Arrogant

Although you are displaying and showcasing your strengths, make sure that you do it without sounding arrogant. Remember that you are applying because you need this job and not the other way around. Excessive use of “I, me, my, myself, etc.” can make you sound conceited. Ultimately, the cover letter is all about you but you have to subtly make the employer realize you’re the best candidate for the job without directly saying it. You may also check out business letter examples.

7. Spelling and Grammar Mistakes

Always spell-check and edit. Do not rely on your computer’s spelling and grammar checks as it won’t catch words that are correctly spelled, but incorrectly used (like “it’s” and “its.”) Typos and grammar errors signal that you did not even bother proofreading your letter thus implying you’re hasty and unfocused with a task at hand. It can negatively reflect your work ethic and can lead to your application to be discarded. Always proofread before printing a final copy of your letter to avoid mistakes and errors. You may also see appointment letter examples & samples.

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General Guidelines for Cover Letter Writing

In order to come up and write an effective cover letter, keep in mind these basic guidelines:

  1. Use an accepted business letter format.
  2. Personalize each letter.
  3. Use non-sexist language.
  4. Limit your letter to one page.
  5. Avoid overusing the word “I.”
  6. Vary your writing.
  7. Use attention-grabbing action verbs and adjectives.
  8. Proofread.

Tips for Writing an Effective Cover Letter

Here are some tips to remember when writing and formatting your cover letter:

  • Be clear and concise.
  • Keep paragraphs short and direct.
  • Back up any statements you make with facts & figures.
  • Choose a professional font.
  • Check spelling and grammar.
  • Use a template.

In conclusion, how you write your cover letter can either make or break your chances of being called for an interview. Always remember that your cover letter is just an introduction of you and a description of your relevant skills and experiences. Keep in mind this useful abbreviation: KISS; always Keep It Short and Simple. You may also like formal letter writing examples in pdf.

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