Over the years, many people have asked me if the days of sending a cover letter along with the job application are over. My answer – a resounding NO. Over the years, much has been said about things to consider and avoid while writing a CV or Resume, but not much about how to write a cover letter. For that matter, very few people actually send a cover letter with their CV/resume.
Also Read:- 10 commandments for an impactful résumé..
Let me ask you a question – Do you think that a prospective employer gets all the information he needs by looking at your CV/resume? Being an HR Manager for many years, let me give this to you straight – it doesn’t. All a resume does is tell the employer about everything that you have done in your professional life. But, it is of limited value without a cover letter for context.
A cover letter tells the employer the kind of position you are seeking and what makes you the best fit. In simple words, a CL gives you an opportunity to showcase your personality over and above your skills and experience and allows you to get the coveted interview call.
Unlike your resume, which is usually static, you must write a new the letter for each application. While there are hundreds of cover letter templates out there, remember, a cover letter is a dynamic document which needs to be created based on your personality and that of the prospective employer.
Also Read:- Top 5 Mistakes on Resume- it’s over for you
What you should include when you write a cover letter
In 2014, the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) conducted a survey to examine an organization’s preference for resumes, cover letters, etc. In the survey, they found that the top five aspects of a cover letter according to most of the survey participants were:
- How the candidate’s work experience meets the job requirements.
- How the candidate’s skills meet the job requirements
- Why does the candidate want to work with the organization?
- Why does the candidate want to make a career change?
- The writing skills of the candidate
The cover letter should offer this information and convince the reader that you are the best person for the job.
Best Practices to help you write a cover letter
In order to write a the letter which is impactful and drives the right message across, it is important to study the job requirements carefully. This will give you the outline of your cover letter. Here are some tips:
- Try to find out the name of the contact person (if possible) and address the letter to him/her. Also, research the company to understand its culture and the tone of voice that will work with them.
- Talk about specific skills and avoid generic statements. For example, avoid using phrases like ‘amazing problem-solving skills’. Instead, try stating some numbers that prove that you can solve problems efficiently. In other words ‘Tell Ur Story’ to ‘Change Ur Story’. Get creative and ensure that you convey as much information about yourself as possible with respect to the job. Beware of overdoing it too.
- A CL should ideally not go beyond one page.
- Do not lie when you write a cover letter.
- “Hi. I am a hard-working, detail-oriented, natural leader and looking for an opportunity…” This is probably the most-read line for a human resource professional. If you want to stand out from the crowd, then think outside the box.
- End your cover letter with a note of optimism and a call to action in a polite manner. For example, “I am excited to offer more information and am looking forward to speaking with you.”
- Do not forget to proofread after you write a cover letter.
A cover letter should tell the employer a little about the person behind the experience detailed in the resume. Keep it simple, crisp, and appealing to the reader.
At Change Ur Story, we believe that a cover letter has the potential to make your profile intriguing to the prospective employers. Through our Career Coaching and Resume Writing Services, we help professionals create cover letters which are highly relevant to the job and visually appealing as well. Drop us a line and let’s get started.
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