There are a number of contradicting opinions when it comes to writing cover letters. How much time should ideally be spent on writing one? Does the hiring personnel even bother reading them? Or is it just okay to simply send the resume to get the job done?
As stated above, the answer to all the above questions doesn’t come as a one-size-fits-all philosophy. Simply speaking, there are times when a cover letter may be required, while at other times your resume will be just enough.
On the other hand what a cover letter really does is to provide you with a competitive edge that may not come along with a resume. The cover letter will boost your writing potential and details not usually contained in the resume. It will showcase your passion and a clear indication that you have put considerable time and effort in applying for the job.
However, do note that a poorly written cover letter does more harm than good. Besides the grammatical discrepancies, using a standard cover letter for all the jobs. Even worse using without changing the name of the company is simply going to lead your application in the bin. The point is if you are inclined to include a cover letter in your job application, it better to complete the job in the best manner possible.
The extent of formality the header will represent will depend on the company you’ve applied for. If you’re applying in a formal company, it is vital to use a formal header to initiate the cover letter. Add the date, your address and the business’s address. However, if the place you’re applying it is not formal, then it’s not important to include your and company’s address, while the date could be added.
Writing “To Whom It May Concern” is acceptable. However, it’s always better to inquire the details of the applied company or hiring personnel beforehand. If you have conducted a thorough research but still not sure regarding the authenticity of the hiring manager’s name. Then, it makes sense to use a general greeting. But if you’re sure regarding the information found, then try to incorporate the name reasonably in order to catch the eye of the recruiter.
If the hiring personnel’s name is there, is it wise to greet them by their full name or by a courtesy title, for instance, Mr., Ms., Mrs., etc.? Just like the header element, this also depends on the formality element of the company. Consider applying in a corporate sector, here it is advised to use ‘Mr.’ rather than addressing on the full-name basis. On the other hand, if you have a comparatively new business or startup in mind operating with a more casual style, then go for the full name in the greeting.
- Paragraph 1: Introduction
The opening paragraph of the cover letter should contain around 1-3 sentences. State the reasons as to why you’re so tempted to apply for the position and what makes you the best fit. Remember, you should stay strictly to the point. Don’t stress on the regarding where you heard about the job and if there is an acquaintance of yours at the company.
Remember, the first paragraph isn’t the area where you will go on detailing the reasons proving yourself to be a great candidate. Rather, a sentence or two will state some vital reasons as setting the tone for the rest of the letter. What most applicants fail to understand is that some HR personnel are quite a keen observing ability. They’ll happily cross-check the content of the letter with your resume. So, it’s better to synch the content as neatly as possible.
- Paragraph 2: The Reason Stating You’re the Best Fit for the Job
This is the content where you’ll be selling yourself. This with the help of a couple of strong examples clearly explaining why the HR personnel should consider you as the best fit for the job. What job responsibilities did you cater in the last workplace that will give you the needed experience and edge?
What are the projects you worked on that could be beneficial for the new organization? How will your past experience help this company excel from several aspects? Try to stay as humble as you can in expressing yourself along with using the best possible words showcasing your worth. The second paragraph is the chance for the candidate to express his or her enthusiasm and passion for the job applied.
- Paragraph 3: How the Company is the Right Fit for You?
As much as it is important to consider a job that is the right fit for you. It is equally vital to see if the company is also the right one for you. Normally, a cover letter explains why you’re the right person for the company. Though what will you gain when it comes to getting hired? What applicants should importantly understand is that HR personnel want to know the reason why their place appeals them. Also, how hiring the applicant would work for a mutually created professional relationship?
In the third company, it is essential you explain how much serious you are to nurture your career by working in this company. What appeals and excites you about this workplace? How effectively your goals align with those of the company? For example, you might be willing to explain your environmental concerns are perfectly aligning with the company’s CSR and green initiatives.
Effective Closing Paragraph
Don’t take the final closing sentences of the cover letter lightly, try to finish as strongly as possible. Stay strictly to the point about your interests and passion taking the new position without signing off too powerfully. It is important to tell them regarding your availability to talk about the position and offer by mentioning your contact information and email address.
The reason being the recruiter will here decide on whether to throw a follow-up on you or not. Given the information is provided in the cover letter. Last but not the least, insert a ‘Thanks’ for their time and consideration.
Use a formal signing off such as “Best”, “All the Best”, “Sincerely”, followed by adding your complete name. The cover letter doesn’t call to sign with a pen.
Lara Hawkins is a professional career planning and development trainer for students and professionals worldwide. Besides her regular job, Lara is also operating an accomplished assignment writing company. She has a plethora of academic disciplines with expertise for students across the globe.