Cover letters, or cover emails as they are now frequently seen, are still an integral part of the job-hunting process, and you shouldn’t underestimate their importance. Here is what you need to know about, and what you should include, when it comes to penning a strong cover letter for job vacancies.
Tailor the Cover Letter
Don’t just produce a generic cover letter for every job that you apply for. Your cover letter, above all, should be unique and designed specifically for the very job that you are applying to. Even if there is no open vacancy but instead you are sending a speculative cover letter, you should include reference to the specific company and why you want to work for it.
“The best piece of advice I can give when it comes to cover letters is to make sure they are targeted specifically for a job and company in mind. Start off by directly referencing that company, and stressing why you are attracted to a role with that company. Generic letters just don’t work,” warns Sarah Coleman, a cover letter editor at EliteAssignmentHelp.
Start with a Memorable Introduction
The introduction to your cover letter will have the biggest impact, so make sure that you produce something highly memorable in terms of your relevant experience and skill. And the word ‘relevant’ is key here, because as long as you have tailored your cover letter (and resume) to the specific job at hand, you should be able to pinpoint the requirements on the open job specification that you must refer to, and it is here, in the opening paragraph, that you can strongly put forward yourself as the solution to those requirements. What is the biggest need of the open job spec., and why are you the perfect person to fill that need?
Make Your Experience & Skills Relevant
This has already been mentioned, but use the job specification for the open role (or if it is a speculative letter, assume what the key skills requirements would be) and then offer up relevant examples within the cover letter as to why you are the solution to that need. It’s really as simple as framing several questions that the job requirement asks, and using the cover letter as an opportunity to directly answer those questions concisely and with relevant examples. Make it as practical as this, and you are writing the perfect cover letter.
Use Writing Tools to produce the perfect cover letter
When writing your cover letter, it is highly recommended to avail of a number of great, and even sometimes free, online writing tools which elevate the quality of your cover letter to another level:
- Grammarly is well-regarded online proofreading tool to help you eradicate grammar mistakes.
- Zety provides a ton of useful tips on how to produce high-quality resumes and cover letters.
Use the Right Voice & Tone
Also be sure that you are using the right tone in your letter, which means assertive and professional, but also friendly and in a way that offers solutions to the requirements.
Show a Level of Research
Within your cover letter, make specific reference to something about the company that only could be known with a greater level of research than the average person would conduct. When you have pinpointed the perfect fact to include, apply it to your skills and experience, and speak specifically about why you are motivated to work for this particular company.
What is it about the company that attracts you, and why do you think you will be a good fit? In this day and age, organizational culture, which really just means the pervading atmosphere and belief system within the company, is as important as your technical abilities, so you need to show that you will be a good match here.
End with a Call to Action
What’s the next step? If you are sending a speculative cover letter, then state your intention to follow up with a call, or if you are applying for an open position, and it has not been clearly stated, ask directly what the next steps involve. And be sure to follow up on your application in the right way, with the required level of commitment and proactiveness that once again elevates you above the average applicant.
In short, your cover letter can go a long way to helping you get the notice that you need to then proceed and win the job on offer. It will not secure you the job on its own, but it could certainly prevent your resume even getting read. So, follow these practical tips, and produce an impactful cover letter for your next job.
By Beatrix Potter