What is a Cover Letter?
A cover letter is a document sent with your CV when one is applying for a job. It serves as a personalized introduction and aids in the sale of your application. A cover letter is required since it allows you to tell an employer why you are the ideal applicant for the position. Your cover letter is the simplest and most effective method to differentiate yourself from the competition.
The employer will acquire a better understanding of you, your personality, and what you want out of work, as well as why you're applying.
And, while your CV should be brief, your cover letter is the ideal place to expand on your accomplishments.
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1. Choose the Type of Right Cover Letter
Cover letters may be sent to employers and connections in a variety of ways. Traditional cover letters (sometimes referred to as application letters) are created to apply for specific employment opportunities. If you know anybody who might suggest you for a job, you should prepare a reference cover letter. There are also letters of interest (sometimes known as prospecting letters) written to inquire about employment vacancies at a firm. Cover letters to firms that haven't posted employment opportunities are known as "cold contacts."
Make sure your cover letter represents the job you're applying for, why you're writing, and what you're asking for.
2. Go beyond your CV
Your cover letter should not simply be a copy of your CV. Rather, this letter should demonstrate what you will offer to the organization.
Choose two to three talents or abilities to mention in your cover letter. Then give examples of when you've shown those characteristics. If you are a teacher, you can provide an example of how you effectively tutored a pupil to emphasize your expertise and competence in instructing children. You might mention a time when you were exceptionally effective in the classroom.
The detailed examples make your cover letter different from your CV.
Include numbers wherever feasible to demonstrate how you brought value to prior employers. In the example given above, you might share information on how your past students' grades improved due to their work with you.
You can highlight some of your transferrable talents in your resume if you are a recent graduate or otherwise do not have much job experience. Evidence of these abilities should be provided in the form of projects, classes, volunteer work, and so on.
3. Create a unique cover letter for each company and job
If you've prepared a generic cover letter that you use for every job, a hiring manager can tell right away. That is a sure way to get your application rejected. Instead, take the time to personalize your cover letter to show your enthusiasm for the position you're applying for.
Writing a personalized cover letter for each job you apply for might be time-consuming, but it's vital to put in the work. A customized letter can let the reader realize right away if you are a good fit for the position. In your cover letter, don't forget to be yourself. In most situations, the hiring manager will prefer to read something written by a genuine person rather than boring business language.
Would your best friend be able to hear your voice in the words if you asked them to read your cover letter? You would be on the right road if you answered yes to these questions.
4. Do not mention weaknesses
In general, don't make any apologies in your cover letter. In a cover letter, there are some things you don't need to include. While honesty is admirable, a cover letter is not the place to provide negative details about your qualifications. During an interview, the hiring manager will have the opportunity to learn about your weaknesses. Don't bring up the fact that you lack the needed expertise or degree. That will draw attention to what you don't have. Instead, concentrate on showcasing the talents and experiences you do have and explaining how they qualify you for the position.
5. Try to find a contact person
When it comes to cover letters, it's important to take the time to get personable. Get as much information as possible about the firm and the hiring manager. Make sure your cover letter is addressed to the specific hiring manager who will be reviewing it. If you don't know who that individual is, look them up on the company's website or ask them. It's not always simple to locate a contact person to whom you should address your cover letter, but it's worth the effort.
If you're not sure who will be reading your message, start it with the salutation "Dear Hiring Manager."
Mention any contacts you have at the firm that suggested you to the position or who are ready to put in a good word for you in the opening paragraph of your letter. This is a fantastic method to grab the interest of a potential employer. However, make sure you've verified with your connections ahead of time to see whether they'd be happy to suggest you.
6. Properly Format your Cover Letter
Your first impression needs to be a good one because that's a step towards getting shortlisted or an interview. Your cover letter should not only contain the necessary information but also appear polished and professional. As a result, make sure your cover letter is correctly formatted. Use business letter format if you're sending a physical letter. At the beginning of the letter, provide your contact information, the date, and the employer's contact information. Your cover letter will be formatted differently if you send it as an email. You should also add a subject line with your name and job title.
The length of a cover letter should not exceed one page (three to four paragraphs at most).
7. Show your personality
Your cover letter should be professional, but it should also be clear about what you have to offer the company, which is you and your qualifications. You don't have to use unnecessarily formal language to be professional. Avoid using words like "Dear Sir/Madam" or "I wish to express my genuine interest in a position at your wonderful institution," which don't feel natural. Instead, use straightforward and clear language.
Avoid overused terms that hiring managers are tired of hearing (e.g., "go-getter," "team player," etc.). Substitute powerful words like "initiated" and "collaborated" for those phrases.
8. Use cover letter examples and templates.
Before you begin writing your letter to apply for a job, look through these sample cover letters. Examples might help you figure out how to format your letter and what to include.
Also, go through several cover letter templates to aid in the formatting of your letter. You may also customize a template for your letters.
While templates and samples are helpful, be sure to tailor any letter sample to your talents and abilities, as well as the position you're looking for.
9. Proofread and edit your cover letter
Because hiring managers review hundreds of applications, even a minor error can make or destroy your chances of being interviewed. As a result, double-check your cover letter for mistakes (and all of your application materials, for that matter).
Look through your message for any spelling or grammar mistakes. In your headings, double-check that you have the proper firm name, hiring manager's name, date, and so on.
Ask a friend or family member to read your letter aloud to you. You may request that they look for mistakes, but you can also request more general input. After reading your letter, inquire whether your friend believes you are a good fit for the position.
10. Follow Job Posting Instructions
Following the employer's guidelines is the most crucial element of submitting a cover letter. Attach Microsoft Word or PDF files to your email message if the job ad asks you to submit your cover letter and resume as an email attachment. Do not email or send a physical application if the hiring manager specifies that you submit your documents using an online application method.
If you must send your cover letter by email, be sure to mention your name and the job title in the subject line.
It's critical to submit your cover letter and resume attachments appropriately, include all necessary information to receive your message and tell the recipient how to contact you for an interview.
Cover letter sample
Kelin Zvomuya is a consultant at Industrial Psychology Consultants (Pvt) Ltd a management and human resources consulting firm.
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