The importance of a cover letter cannot be stressed enough while applying for a job. You should attach a cover letter to your resume whether the recruiter asks for one or not. A cover letter is a one-pager that summarizes your career progression.
This crisp description helps the recruiter assess the value that you can bring to the organisation. It is a very crucial document, and hence, must be drafted with due care and diligence.
According to a recent survey conducted by Resume Lab, a whopping 83% of hiring managers and recruiters use the cover letter in their decision-making process! So it is safe to say that if you have a dull cover letter, chances are that the recruiter might not even look at your resume.
To avoid that, you must draft the cover letter in a way that appeals to the recruiters. In this guide, we will discuss all the key tips to ensure that you bag the job of your dream with a stirring cover letter.
Get the Format Right
Writing a cover letter could feel overwhelming at first. A cover letter is not a place to repeat the things that are already mentioned in your resume. It is a place to tell your story and give the recruiter an idea of your capabilities. Therefore, it is very important to have a set format ready.
Given below is an accepted and standard format for a cover letter that you can easily follow:
It is the top-most segment of your cover letter. Your contact information goes in the header. It includes your email, postal address, phone number, and links to social profiles, especially LinkedIn.
In this section, you have to put the information of the person to whom the cover letter is addressed. Along with their name, you have to mention their designation and the office’s address.
3. Opening paragraph
The opening paragraph should state your purpose. Here you can mention the role you are applying for and indicate why you are interested in that particular position. This is your chance to grab the recruiter’s attention from the get-go. You can hook them in by stating a few core strengths that demonstrate your ability for the respective job role.
4. Second paragraph
This section is where you talk in detail about your achievements, skills, and expertise. Add your key competencies as bullet points to make them more readable and easy to skim through. Make sure to avoid repeating things that you have already mentioned in your resume.
5. Concluding Paragraph
Here you make the recruiter believe that you are passionate about the job. You can do this by mentioning your key observations on the organization. This will show that you have done the necessary research about the company and are genuinely interested in adding value to its operations.
In the closing section, you should mention things that you have enclosed along with the cover letter - such as your portfolio, resume etc. Along with that, indicate your interest in an interview opportunity and mention the days or times when you are available for the same.
Now that you have a clear understanding of the format, here are some tips you can use to write a compelling cover letter.
Tips to Write a Good Cover Letter
1. Pick the right template
Choosing the right template is crucial because it makes the first impression on the recruiter. The choice of a template greatly depends upon your field. For instance, if you are a graphic designer, you can experiment with a more visual style and use colours that pop.
On the other hand, if you are applying for the position of a data analyst or fintech professional, it should be clear, concise, and elegant. It is recommended to keep the cover letter minimalist and clutter-free for a better reading experience for the recruiter.
2. Research About the Company
In order to write a catchy cover letter, you have to go beyond skimming the job description. Peruse the company’s website, LinkedIn page, and other social platforms to study about it. This will help you understand the culture and working style of the organisation.
With this information, you can tweak your cover letter to suit the organization’s expectations. Try to get in touch with a hiring manager or any other company executive that can give you first-hand information about the current scenario at that particular organization.
3. Ditch the Custom
You cannot stand out from other candidates if you are still using conventional descriptions. Instead of ‘I am X, and I wish to apply to Y organization’ open strong with a catchy line. For instance, you can start straight away with your key achievements, such as,” I am a Digital Marketing Specialist with 12 years of experience looking for….”
However, be careful to not toe the line. In the rush of standing out, some candidates tend to get too formal, leaving a lousy impression on the recruiter.
4. Watch the Tone
Last but not least, pay special attention to the tone of your letter. The purpose of the cover letter is to emphasize your personal value to the employer hence the right tone is very important. Your research on the company will help you determine the right tone, as in the amount of humour or informality you can play with.
An important thing to note here is that your tone should convey enthusiasm. You should picture yourself as a candidate who is well aware of the present scenario in the industry and has the necessary skills to combat the challenges and leverage the opportunities.
The cover letter is equally, if not more important than your resume. Together, they help you demonstrate that you are a good fit for the job that you are applying for. If either one is poorly drafted, it can hinder your progress through the interview process.
Use the above-mentioned tips and suggestions while drafting your cover letter. This can help you apply for and land the job that you like.