The most important step before beginning to apply for a new job is to create a good resume. It is widely believed, that a good resume should be a brief summary of your personal and professional experiences, skills and education history. The main purpose of your resume should be to show off your best self to potential employers. But, what about the cover letter? In most cases, job seekers are also asked for a cover letter, along with the resume.
According to a recent survey from ResumeLab, a whopping 83 per cent of recruiters, hiring managers, and HR staff called cover letters important parts of their hiring decisions.
This pandemic has only increased the number of applicants for new positions and the competition is growing. What was the biggest trend that HR leaders noticed among candidates? Poorly written cover letters.
What Is A Cover Letter?
A cover letter, at the start of any resume, can best be defined as a motivational letter or a letter of motivation. It is your professional introduction, which is attached to your resume or curriculum vitae (CV). Job seekers frequently send a cover letter along with their curriculum vitae or applications for employment as a way of introducing themselves to potential employers and explaining their suitability for the desired positions.
In fact, employers may even look for individualized and thoughtfully written cover letters as one method of screening out applicants who are not sufficiently interested in their positions and/or lack the necessary basic skills.
Cover Letter For Job: Details It Should Have
Your cover letter should highlight what makes you a great fit for the job and motivate the hiring manager to set up an interview. Here's how a cover letter should be crafted. Your cover letter should
- Be under 250 words
- Explain your reason of applying for the job
- Speak of your past successes and how it would prove beneficial for this job
- Relate your calibre and skills to the job applied for
- Be error-free (grammatical and factual)
- Specify the company name and the role applied for
Cover Letter Format
Once you know the details to be included, it is important to know how the cover letter should be prepared. According to Andrew Seaman, Editor, LinkedIn News, "Cover letters are likely growing in importance because it’s another way for job seekers to stand out among the crowd." Your cover letter should be crafted in the following manner
- Write the date, your contact information on the top left of your letter
- Address the letter to the hiring manager, begin with a common salutation such as ‘Dear (the manager's name)'
- Introduce yourself
- Mention any current employees who referred you for the position
- Connect the position’s required skills with your previous accomplishments
- Thank the employer for their time and consideration
- Close the letter with a friendly yet formal signature such as ‘Sincerely’
Here's what recruiters, resume writers and company owners have to say about cover letters
Susan Davis - "The one time I'd advise someone to spend time on a cover letter is if they need to talk through how the experience on their resume adds up to what the job description says the company is looking for, if it isn't obvious. A cover letter can't get you the job, it can only keep HR from screening you out."
Kamila Hawrot - "I personally think a cover letter is useful for entry-level roles - if you are a recent graduate with little to no experience a cover letter could tell us more about you and why you want to do XYZ. This is how you stand out from the crowd."
Pam Rush - "Along with refining a strong resume, writing a cover letter can be the most nerve-wracking part of applying for jobs."
Alan Shoebridge - "I'm not a fan at all of cover letters. I just don't believe that enough hiring managers will actually read them. If you truly will read them all, then ask for them."
Lynda Spiegel - "Cover letters - in most circumstances - are meaningless. The way for job candidates to differentiate themselves is in the resume - highlighting specific accomplishments unique to themselves and their experiences."
Jessica Hernandez - "Cover letters are so important. One of my favorite strategies for a cover letter is to discuss fit or interest in the role. A cover letter gives you the opportunity to share why you're excited about the role, what interest you have, and why you're a fit."
Warren Frehse - "Cover letters show how you're the right person for the job. Don't waste this fantastic opportunity to convince the employer that you have what it takes."
Mary Savoy - "I can't underestimate the importance of cover letters and I know I've gotten to the interview phase after including them"