Cover letters writing
You’re searching for a job and you already found advertisement that is interesting for you, you’ve wrote your Curriculum Vitae or Resume and now is time for Cover Letter. Are you asking why you have to do it and what’s the meaning of writing a cover letter?
Cover letter is possibility to write straight to an employer, introduce him yourself and ask for a job. Here is way how to make your Cover letter interesting and powerful tool in job search.
Employers use cover letter as a screening tool in addition to a resume and/or application. Basic meaning of writing a cover letter is to introduce yourself, highlight your most relevant and interesting qualifications, experience, skills and achievements. Make him/her know why are you interested in job in his/her company.
Powerful letter can be the deciding factor in whether or not you get an interview. It should be an advertisement for your strongest skills, you have to make reader know that you are value for his/her company and motivate him/her to read your CV or, better, pick up phone to invite you for an interview.
Cover letter should be short especially if you are sending it by an email (nobody likes reading long emails) – one page is enough. Point is to ask for an interview. Do not include everything what you have in CV, just highlight most important information’s.
Cover letter gives you the opportunity to emphasize certain skills or accomplishments that the employer is seeking. If your letter is interesting enough employer will read your CV for more details. Cover letter should complement your CV, not repeat it. It has a role of opening sentence to grab reader's attention. You have to show that you understand and can meet company''s needs.
Before you start writing gather your information's – define your objectives, summarize your experience and why are you right one for this job.
At the top left corner put your address (without a name) and date. Below write Employers name (address the person as Mr., Ms., Mrs., Miss or Dr.), title, name of the company and address. Always address it to a person. If it’s possible address it to person who can hire you and be sure you spell the individual's name correctly.
Good cover letter consists from 3 to 4 paragraphs and each of them has his own point.
In first paragraph explain in 2-3 sentences who you are and why are you writing – don’t forget to tell the position you want to be consider for. Write how did you heard about this position only in case that it isn’t recruiting program. And finally write why are you interested in this position in their company. Point of this paragraph is to make a connection between you and a company.
In second (eventually third) paragraph put your most relevant education, qualification, achievements and skills but do not put there passages from your CV/Resume word by word! And don’t forget about strong examples. Here is also place to demonstrate your knowledge about a company. This will be longest paragraph in your letter.
Last paragraph put request on interview and explain your follow-up plan - make employer know what will happen next (contact them within specific period of time unless it is a recruiting program). It's useful to put there your email address and/or phone number. Make yourself easily available and tell employers how to reach you. Don't forget to thank for readers time and consideration.
At the end of the text put your signature and write your name (all align left). And don’t forget to inform about enclosures.
Try to avoid these mistakes – generic sounding letter, too focused on yourself and your goals, no date, company address and contact name, spelling mistakes and grammar errors, no sign, fail to ask for an interview. Never include negative information's!
Write your letter in your own words so it doesn't look like something out of book. Be positive and don’t try to sound like someone else, be yourself. Use natural language in simple, clear sentences, use action words and create dynamic sentences. And remember to be brief as possible– employer usually reads these letter in 10 seconds.
Show that you know something about the company – put somewhere inside a text company name and subject of their activity, use terms and phrases that are meaningful to the employer. Show the employer that you've done your homework and have a genuine knowledge of the organization. But don't profess to know more about an organization than you really do.
When sending Cover Letter as an email you don’t need any special design – write it like an ordinary email message. If you want you can use different types of highlighting but there is no need for this. Think about meaningful subject line – for example put there name of position and its code. Never leave this line blank.
Cover letter should be designed specifically for each position you seek, don’t make it like uniform letter you send with all your job applications. Make sure your personal details are presented in cover letter exactly the same way as on your CV/Resume. Use the same paper, ink and similar design. This two thing have to fit together!
Use 11 or 12 point conservative font (Arial, Times), do not include there any graphics or photographs. Print your letter on laser jet; don’t use a dot matrix printer or an inferior typewriter ribbon. When printing, take one copy for yourself and keep it so you will know what did you wrote in this letter even after years neither you will have a template for writing next one.
Don’t forget about checking punctuation, grammar and spelling, be sure that there are no errors in your letter. Use text processor and ask friends to do this for you. And check your sentence structure.
Remember that Cover Letter is first thing your prospective employer is going to see so make it professionally. Sure, it takes time but it will pay off.