A cover letter is brief description of the purpose of contacting and content of the resume. It is generally not longer than two paragraphs or a page.
The only time a cover letter should not be included is when a job advertisement clearly says to NOT include one. Otherwise it is advised to add one every time with your application.
Points We Are Going to Cover Here Are:
- Purpose of cover letter
- Length of cover letter
- Customisation of cover letter
- What your cover letter must include
- What your cover letter must NOT include
- Cover letter for a cold email
- Cover letter in email format
- In a situation where only the cover letter is included
- Some common templates of cover letter
You might be applying for a specific, advertised job, or else you might be contacting a potential employer to see if they have got any vacancies. Either way, your cover letter must do the following:
- Introduce You
- Mention the job role you’re applying for
- Mention the skills you have that match the job description
- Excite the reader to read your resume
- End it with a call to action (example, requesting an interview or even asking to meet)
How Long Should a Cover Letter Be?
A cover letter shouldn’t be more than a page. It’s just meant to be the summary of information you have put in your resume, so remember to keep it short.
Customise Your Job Application Cover Letter
Try to customise your cover letter as much as possible to the receiver. It has its own benefits.
Your cover letter needs to show that you know what the job requires and what the company expects. To do this you need to be as specific as possible about your skills and qualities and how does that make you compatible for the role.
Simple Ways to Make Your Cover Letter As Specific As Possible
Find Out Whom Are You Dealing With
Avoid addressing the letter with “To Whom It May Concern”. Discovering who to address your application takes a bit of effort, but it’s worth it.
If you discovered the job in an ad, the ad will most likely name a person to send the application to. Otherwise, call the employer or recruitment company (don’t email them) and ask whom to deliver the application to.
When addressing a notification, don’t use the person’s first name. Use possibly “Mr.” or “Ms.” followed by their last name.
Find Out More About The Job
When finding out who to handle your application to, you should also try to speak to that individual so you can ask questions that will help you tailor your cover letter and resume.
Questions You Might Consider Asking The Interviewer
- What more can you tell me about the job?
- What is an ideal candidate according to you for the role?
- Is there a job description that you can share? (only ask this if the job ad didn’t mention a job description)
The answers to these questions will give you an idea of what you should include in your cover letter.
Find Out More About The Company
Learning more details of the company is also a good way to work out how to customize your cover letter. Here are some tips:
- If you know the company, look for information on the web
- Check out their website, especially their ‘About us’ page
- If the ad does not mention the company name, contact the recruitment agency/advertiser and ask who the actual employer is
What To Include in a Cover Letter
Here is a list of things that you must include in your cover letter.
Your name and contact details
Put your name and contact details at the top of your job application letter. You don’t have to give your postal address, but you must to include your email and phone number.
Make certain you’ll be able to answer the call on the phone number you give – absolutely no sense giving your home phone if you’re not home to answer it.
Make sure your email address is professional in format. An email address like firstname.lastname@example.org gives a bad impression.
Name And Contact Details of The Person You Are Addressing To
Under your personal name and contact details you should include the following:
- Name of the person you’re writing to
- Designation of that person
- Their place or the name of their company
If you’re having trouble finding this information you can call the company to ask whom to address the application to. If that isn’t possible, only then resort to writing “To Whom It might Concern”. But try to avoid the usage of it.
The Name of The Position You Are Applying For
At the start of your cover letter explain which job you are applying for. You can either do this on the subject line itself (e. g., “Re: Software for Stock Controller position”) or within the opening paragraph (e. g., “I am writing to apply for the recently advertised Stock Controller position.”)
List your Skills Appropriate For The Job
Your letter should include a brief overview of your skills and experiences that match the job description. A short bullet-pointed list is fine.
If you are answering to a job advertisement, either the advertisement or the job description may provide a set of skills and experiences that are essential for the role. It may also provide a list of “desirable” skills and also mention the period of experience required. Your cover letter needs to respond to all the items on the “essential” list and as many items as possible on the “desirable” list.
Remember that in case you say you have a skill or experience, you have to show how you’ve used it or the way you acquired it (e. g., if you say one has child-minding skills, mention some jobs wherever you’ve used them).
A Long List of Why You’re Right For The Job
After listing your skills and experience you must justify why you are suited for the job (example, “The combination of my interest in AFL and my experience with book-keeping can make me an ideal candidate for this job.”)
Speak Their Way
Talking in a fashion as spoken on the job is a good way to impress interviewers about how suited you are for the job.
Getting familiar with what an organisation does and how it talks about itself can provide you with ideas about things to mention in your cover letter, and how to talk about them.
For example, if there are tools, software, or skills the work requires – like machining tools or perhaps cash handling – mention it in your cover letter.
Add a Call to Action
Your cover letter should finish by asking the receiver to look at your resume. It should additionally ask them to contact you about an interview.
Try something simple like, “I have attached a copy of my resume for your consideration. I look forward to hearing from you about this application.”
What NOT to Include in a Cover Letter
Here is a list of things that you should NOT use in your cover letter:
Typos or Factual Mistakes
You should always spellcheck your cover letter. It is better to get someone else to read it and find the mistakes or confusing parts. Individuals you can ask include your friends, family members, or your mentors.
Double-check everything in your cover letter. If you mention a company’s name, be sure you get it right. If you mention a place, make sure you get their names correct too. Mistakes on cover letters tend to be worse than typos.
Copy And Paste Parts From Your Resume
Avoid copying and pasting your resume into your cover letter. Try to re-word the information on your resume rather than repeating it. Keep your cover letter short and allow your resume tell the whole story.
Using “I” Too Many Times
Try to make sure that you don’t fill your cover letter with things like “I believe”, “I have” and “I am”. Once you have typed your letter, go through it and see if you possibly could take out – or rewrite – any kind of sentences that start with “I”.
Talking About Your Other Job Applications
You will probably be applying to more than one job. It is a strict NO to mention your other job applications. You’re trying to convince the interviewer that you really want the position. It’s hard to do that if they understand you’re looking for other jobs as well.
Even though most people assume that you are applying at other places too, it is best if you act as though you are not.
Cover Letters When There is No Job Advertised
Sometimes you might like to work for a particular business or organisation despite the fact that there haven’t been any specific work advertised. Contacting these businesses directly to ask whether they have any job openings is a perfectly genuine thing to do. It can show a high level of aspiration and enthusiasm, and could easily lead to employment.
Even if there’s no job position currently open, there is a chance that they could keep you on their mind and get in touch with you when a position does become available.
This type of cover letter should be written in a similar fashion as a common cover letter, but with a few differences.
- Display you’ve researched the organisation or company and know about what it does
- Mention why you have in mind working for them (in terms of them and your own long-term goals)
- Show exactly how your skills, experience, and interest aligns with the business goals
- Indicate what you’re hoping to get out of the application – do you want to know about positions now available or want to speak to someone who would explain who is preferred for the roles there?
- Finish the letter simply by saying that you’ll contact them again on the coming Friday or any other day that you prefer, however do mention that you are happy to talk to them if they wish to contact you before that
- If you haven’t got a reply back, it’s okay for you to get in touch with them to ask for a response – try contacting them or calling them to discuss your individual letter directly.
Email Cover Letters
Sometimes you’ll be requested to send your cover letter as an email rather than separate document. If this is the case you should make sure of the following points:
- Mention your name and the job position you are applying to, in the email subject line (example, James Cameron — Application for Management Assistant position”)
- The email will be written just like a regular cover letter
- End the email with a professional email signature that includes your name, designation, company, phone number, email address
- Always deliver the email from a professional looking email address
When Only a Cover Letter is Requested
Some companies may ask you to respond to requirements from the job in a one-page cover letter instead of sharing a resume.
In such a case, it is important to share the content of your resume in brief in your cover letter itself. When writing this kind of a cover letter you should include:
- Your contact details
- Your introduction
- Educational qualifications
- Certifications (if any)
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