Is a cover letter necessary?
Have you ever wondered if the cover letters are still a thing in 2021, or how to write a cover letter that is going to land your dream job?
The answer is still “YES”, The cover letter has been around for quite some time and I don’t see how soon that is going to change. A cove letter is should highlight your strongest skill sets relevant for the job position you are applying for to make you stand out against other candidates applying for the same position. Although a cover letter is not going to guarantee a job or an internship although a good and impressive cover letter is a sure way to guarantee an interview.
Tailor your resume to the type of profession you are endeavouring. This does not imply that all of your experience must correlate directly, but your resume should reveal the kind of skills the employer would value.
What is a cover letter?
A cover letter is a short detailed summary document that is sent along with your resume explaining who you are and explaining extra details about experience and skills about the job you are applying for.
The document should give insights into who you are to the recruiters at first glance, so if you are going to impress your recruiters you better make it count and as part of your career journey it is important to know how to write a cover letter as this is one of the ways to land your first job.
The cover letter should be detailed but simple, short and clear yours don’t want the recruiters to get bored reading the cover letter they will trash it and move along as they have hundreds if not thousands of the cover letters to go through.
When do you need a cover letter?
When the hiring company or the employer explicitly stated they need a cover letter or asked for it. Most candidates won’t attach a cover letter when it isn’t required although in some cases where the job requirements and the experience you have doesn’t match the job requirements and that’s when the cover letter would come in hand.
What does the cover letter should cover?
The cover letter should explain point by point how are you qualified or relevant for the advertised job. The cover letter you are writing must hit all the key points as covered by the advert to increase your chances for the recruiters to find some relevance of the skills you have to that they are looking for.
Customise the salutation
Prepare for the cover letter beforehand, do some research on the company you are applying for, get into details of the important information of the contact person for the company. Using such knowledge on the salutation part will make the recruiters appreciate how serious you are and the willingness you have to work with them.
Use a tool like muse to find the employee information, but stress too much if the information is not publicly available you can just go with the traditional one.
Don’t tell the employers what they already know
It is pretty lame starting of your cover letter with my name is…… or I am applying for the position….., they already have that information from the moment they decided to go onboard with you on the interview.
The cover letter should indicate confidence and consciousness
Recruiters and hiring managers go through a considerable number of cover letters each day so yours should seize the attention of the readers, try to use both active voice and passive voice. Try to combine your best power words that describe your strength and illustrate the level of confidence you have for the job position you are applying for.
The cover letter should be all about the company
Recruiters are all fascinated to know how your experience and skills align with the vision of the company, give them more reasons for them to want to hire you. Research the company visions and mission and their workplace culture and come up with powerful words that will align with what they have in mind for a perfect candidate that they need to hire.
Cover letter File naming
When naming the files think of all the files and documents the recruiters and hiring managers have to go through and it is unlikely for them to open a document written as document1.docx or mycoverletter.docx, instead try to use a simple short file name stating your name, the position and the type of the file. Try to go with names like “John Doe Software Developer Resume”.
Structure of the cover letter
The cover letter traditionally should at list have no less than three paragraphs which will keep your cover letter short but as much detail as required to highlight your areas of expertise. Here are the main paragraphs which are necessary to the structure of your cover letter:-
- Opening paragraph
- Middle paragraph
- Closing paragraph
- Opening paragraph
This is a part where you address to a particular person clearly stating why you are writing your name and the position you are exploring for, the area of expertise and knowledge and key skills relevant for that position and how you know about the organization.
- Middle paragraph
This is the paragraph where you need to impress the reader, make it brief but be specific to the skillsets. State supporting examples that can demonstrate the skills needed for the role as you have mentioned before in the first paragraph, but be sure to avoid the circular reference to the previous paragraph. Try to explain why you are so keen to work with them and how you are going to make them feel like it is in the best interest of the company, remember the company is the key here. Be sure to explain it with confidence as this part also demonstrate your written skills.
- Closing paragraph
This is the part where you ask for a meeting, sometimes it is known as a call to action. The last paragraph reemphasises your interests in that position and how you are going to use your skillsets to commit to the growth of an organization, a part where you appreciate the readers for taking their time going through what you have inscribed and providing them with your email and phone number for any inquiries or arrangement for the interview.