A cover letter is referred to as a one-page letter that you write and submit with a resume when applying for a job. It is crucial and mandatory to write a cover letter with CV and send it together with your job application except in the case where the company specifies that you should not.
It is always recommended not to include such information in the cover letter which is already available in your resume. The cover letter makes a statement to the resume reviewer about your interest in a position by two words ‘why’ and ‘who’.
What to write in a cover letter?
Below are some of the things that you should ensure to include when you are drafting a cover letter.
- Make sure that you should include a brief introduction of who you are.
- Always include the specifications of the job that you want and the one that you are applying to.
- Specify whether the experience you have together with the skills is the ones required for the job.
- Direct the reader to look at your attached resume.
- At the end of your resume, give a call to action where you tell the reader to invite you for a meeting with them or even an interview.
How lengthy a cover letter should be?
Make sure that the content of your cover letter remains brief. The resume is what gives lengthy details of you and the cover letter should thus be a shortened version of it. Do not make your cover letter more than one page.
Can you reuse the cover letter for the next application submission?
Ensure that you write a new cover letter for every new job separately that you are applying to. Let the cover letter include all the details of the job to show the potential employer that you understand the entire details. To portray your understanding, make sure that the cover letter indicates how your skills and experiences match the position that you are applying to.
Below are key points to ensure that the details of the cover letter are specific.
- Address it to the right person
Make sure that you know the entire details of the company that you are applying to. In as much as finding the details may take a lot of time, it will definitely work for you in the end. This will help you avoid addressing your letter to “whom it may concern”.
When reading the job advertisement, take in all the details specifically the contact details of the hiring individual or organization. If the job advertisement does not show the contact details, then it would be best to contact them personally through email or telephone. A telephone call would definitely be faster.
In the instance where the name of the person hiring is listed, make sure not to use their first name. It is more courteous to use their last name together with the prefix Mr. or Ms.
- Find out as much as you can about the job
In the instance that you find the contact details of the person or organization of the place that you are applying to, it would not hurt to give them a call. After giving them a call, you can ensure to ask them more details about the job. This is to ensure that you match the details of the cover letter to the details of the job.
Once you give them a call, you can ask the following details:
- Does the job involve teamwork?
- Who will be your superiors or supervisors?
- Ask them to tell you more about what they are looking for in a job applicant.
- If the job specifications and details do not reveal much, then ensure to ask them about that.
After asking the questions, make sure that you write down all the answers, as you will use them to write the cover letter.
- Find out every detail of the company
Research and find out every detail of the company that you can. This is to help you write a more customized and tailored cover letter.
Some of the things to consider include:
- If the name of the company is listed in the job description, research about it and find out as much information as you can about it.
- Visit the website of the company if they have one. Read in detail the “About Us” page.
- If the name of the company is not listed in the job description, call the advertiser to give you more information about the potential employer.
What to Include in a Cover Letter?
When writing a cover letter, there are details that you should ensure to include. These details include:
- Your Name and contact
Make sure that the top of your cover letter includes your name and your contact information. In as much as giving a postal address is not necessary, make sure to give your Telephone number or email address. You should ensure that your email address looks professional. Do not use an email address that looks like [email protected]. Before writing a cover letter, create a professional email address and especially one that has your first and last name details.
- The name and contact of the employer
Below your name, write down the details of the employer. Some of the things to include are:
- Their name
- The name of the company
- The contact details of the company
In the instance that you cannot find this information in the advertisement, ensure that you call or email the company to ask them about their address details. If there is no way to find out about this information, you can use “To Whom it may concern”.
- The name of the job position
At the beginning of the cover letter, ensure to list the name of the job that you are applying. This can be noted down in a single line for example; ‘Regarding: Application for Finance position’. This can also be noted down in an opening paragraph for example, ‘I am writing to apply for the Finance position’.
- Note down all your relevant skills
Ensure to note down how the skills and experience that you possess match what the job requires. This can be done in brief bullet points. If you closely read the details on the job advertisement, a part includes the essentials that are needed for the job. These essentials include the required skills and experiences. The cover letter should extensively cover all the essentials needed and show how well suited you are for the job.
Whenever you mention that you have particular skills or experiences, you need to make sure that you also list how you acquired those skills or experiences. For example, if you say that you have bookkeeping skills, you can then list some of the jobs that helped you gain those skills and experience.
- Brief description of what makes you perfect for the job
Once you note down the skills and experiences that you possess, you can then show how these ensure that you are the most suitable person for the job. For example, you can write; ‘My ability to solve customer problems and great communication skills make me well suited for the job’.
- Understand their language
Study the language of the company that you are applying to. Once you use the same language with them, it will ensure that you know what you are applying for as well as the company.
Research about the employer to find out what it is that they do as well as their view of themselves. Use their language to write your cover letter. If for example there is a skill listed in the job, make sure that you write it down well.
- Request for their response
The end of your cover letter should ask the employer to go through and read your resume. You should also request them to contact you for a meeting or an interview. For example, you can say ‘Find attached my resume. It will be great to hear from you.’
Things not to include in your cover letter?
There are things that you should never include in your cover letter. These include:
- Typing errors
Go through and proofread your cover letter. An ideal thing to do would be to get another person to go through it and point out any mistakes and errors. Some of the people that you could request to go through your cover letter include your relatives, friends, mentors and career counselors. Every detail in your cover letter should be correct including your name, name of the company and your referees.
- Don’t turn your cover letter into a resume
Do not repeat all the details in your resume to your cover letter. You can note down some of the details but remember to keep it short. The resume is what should tell them every detail about you.
- Do not overuse the first person
The cover letter should not just talk about you but rather say more about how you can best serve the potential employer. This is by not overusing words like ‘I believe’, ‘I have’, ‘I know’, etc. Proofread your cover letter and edit many of the phrases that begin with ‘I’.
- Don’t talk of other job applications
In as much as you may be applying for many jobs at once, it is not ideal to mention this. The cover letter should tell the employer how much you want the job.
What are the different types of cover letters?
Multiple types of cover letters exist that can be used under different circumstances.
- Cover letter when the job was not advertised
- Cover letter when a resume is not needed
- Cover letter when you have limited work experience
- Cover letter when you have zero work experience