Your cover letter is an important part of your job application, just like your CV. This guide will help you understand what is a cover letter, its meaning, and how it can give your job application an edge over the competition.
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A cover letter is one of the most overlooked and underestimated parts of most job applications many job seekers don't even bother with a cover letter. For recruiters and hiring managers, however, this document can determine whether or not they consider an application. As such, it is a good idea to know just what makes a cover letter effective and how to write one for yourself.
To put it simply, a cover letter is a supplementary document that should be included with a CV as a part of a job application. Rather than being an overview of your skills and work experience like a curriculum vitae (CV), a cover letter is more conversational. The purpose is to allow job seekers to connect with hiring managers and recruiters directly, while providing additional context and information to support their application.
Generally speaking, a cover letter should include your full name, contact information, the job title for which you are applying, and the company name.
A cover letter should be take up no more than one full page in total the idea is to be clear and concise. The only exceptions to this rule are when the job application is for a very specialised or senior job posting, for example, a CEO or CFO, where more information will be expected. Even in these cases, however, two pages should be the limit.
Every cover letter you submit should be unique if you intend to convince potential employers that you are the perfect candidate for their job opening. A good cover letter example should contain these set of key components:
Just as professional business letters have headers, a cover letter should have a header that includes your full name, phone number, email address, and optionally your professional social media links, like your LinkedIn profile. When a hiring manager is going back through applications to make decisions, you’ll want your essential information listed clearly at the top so you don’t get lost in the pile.
Directly below the header, there should be a personalised salutation. Ideally you would want to use the name of the hiring manager, but that is not always possible. Instead, consider salutations such as “Dear Hiring Manager” or “Dear Sir or Madam”. A personal can greeting show a prospective employer that the candidate is putting effort into their job search, but the information is not always available.
The body of a cover letter should have two to three paragraphs, unless you have a lot of relevant experience to discuss. The first paragraph should introduce you as a candidate and provide an eye-catching example of what you think makes you a valuable asset. For example, you could discuss an award you have won or specific achievement. This will make a strong first impression.
You should also indicate precisely which job title you are applying for. Check the job advert to ensure you list it precisely. The second and third paragraphs should build on this by providing relevant examples of your skills in action and indicating your enthusiasm for the role you are applying for. The goal of cover letter body paragraphs is to convince a recruiter of your suitability for the role.
After you have made your case, you should create a concise and robust call to action before you end the cover letter. A good call to action will stick in the hiring manager’s mind and increase your chance of getting a job interview. Most job seekers opt for a gentle call to action, such as, “I hope to hear from you soon,” but a more robust statement such as “I look forward to speaking with you,” can also be effective.
A simple, professional sign-off such as “Yours sincerely,” if you’ve already met the hiring manager, or “Yours faithfully,” if you have not, is the ideal way to end a cover letter. Check out our high-quality cover letter templates to make formatting your cover letter quick and easy.
Unless the job advert you are answering specifically requests that you do not provide a cover letter, you should include it in your job application. Read the job description thoroughly and address the key requirements of the role in a way that expands upon, rather than repeats, the information in your CV. This will make a strong first impression and increase the chance of a hiring manager considering your full application.
A cover letter gives job seekers the unique benefit of being able to communicate directly with the hiring manager. This means that you can add extra information and context to fill in any gaps in your CV. What’s more, this document can give the recruiter an idea of your personality, writing skills, communication skills, and some soft skills. A well-written cover letter is a powerful tool!
Yes, you can use an online cover letter builder and its combination of professional templates and tips to make the process of writing your cover letter easier. Just remember to fine-tune the details of your cover letter for each new job application.
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