Cover Letter — How and When? | BEGIN

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After weeks of job searching and perfecting the resume, you are ready to send it to your desired job openings, only to find out that they require cover letters as well. Writing a cover letter for a resume is a lot simpler than you think. A well-written cover letter would maximize your chances of getting an interview. There are many cover-letter formats for job applications available on the internet.

A cover letter is a document that you send along with your resume to show why you are the best candidate. Not all employers expect a cover letter, but writing one makes a very good first impression. Writing a cover letter shows commitment from your side, as it takes extra time to write personalized letters for each job opening. The purpose of a cover letter is to introduce yourself and briefly summarize your professional background, skills, and qualifications.

A cover letter is a supplement to a resume, not a replacement. Keep in mind not to repeat what you have already mentioned in the resume.

How to write a cover letter?

Though a cover letter is personalized, it should still be crisp and clear. Here’s a small guide to help you out with writing a perfect one:

Use a professional cover letter header

The cover letter header should include your name, phone number, email address, date, the name of the hiring manager and their professional title, and the name and address of the company you are applying to.

Your email address should be from a respected provider like Gmail or your domain. It should have only your name and last name. Any jargon would be a deal-breaker. Also, never use your current work email address to send in a cover letter, as that is disrespectful to all the parties involved.

Greet the hiring manager

Next, start your letter by addressing the hiring manager by name, if possible. Studies show that hearing or seeing our name has a positive influence on the mind. So, don’t hesitate to use the name of the hiring manager to start the letter. There are a lot of ways to find the name of your hiring manager. The simplest way to find the name is to look up the head of the relevant department on LinkedIn. Many times, you will find the name on the job posting or in the email address provided in the job description. If you do not find the name of your hiring manager, then address him/her as “Dear Hiring Manager”. Avoid using the phrase “To whomsoever it may concern.”

Opening paragraph

The first few sentences would determine whether the hiring manager would read further and give you a chance. Grab the reader’s attention with 2-3 top achievements. Though this should include your name and the position you are applying for, it should not be a generic one. For example, it should not be like this:

“Hello, my name is XYZ and I would like to work as a sales manager for ABC company. I’ve worked as a Sales Manager at a POR company for 5+ years, so I believe that I have the required skills and experience to lead the team.”

This would be a very generic way of writing which does not tell anything new other than the fact that you have experience, which would already be mentioned in your resume, and hence it would not be considered further. Instead, phrase it something like this:

“My name is XYZ and I would like to help ABC company hit their sales goal as a sales manager. I have worked as a Sales Manager for 5+ years at a PQR company, and I have helped to generate an average of 40% of sales per month. I believe that this experience and qualifications would be instrumental and would make me the perfect candidate for the job.”

Second paragraph

This paragraph would be to explain why you are the perfect candidate. You can write about your most recent professional job role and an overview of the relevant accomplishments. Before you start drafting the letter, you need to learn the most important requirements of the job. For this, go to the job ad from where you found out about this opening and identify critical requirements. This paragraph should be a perfect blend of you boosting your expertise in the field, but it should not turn into bragging.

Third paragraph

This paragraph would be for you to explain why you would be a good match for the company. Every company has needs, and if you can satisfy those needs, they will hire you. But they would also want to know why you would enjoy working with them. They want to know your reasons as to why you think that this job would be rewarding to you, because this way, you are likely to work with them for a long time. The secret to writing this paragraph is by telling the hiring manager why you want this job and not any other job. Put all your enthusiasm and passion into this paragraph.

Closing paragraph

Begin to close your cover letter by restating your interest in the job and explaining in brief your experience. Thank the hiring manager for their time, and finally, tell them that you look forward to the in-person meeting. The tone of the entire cover letter should be polite, confident, and courteous.

Formal closing

Once you are done with the cover letter, it’s time to write the closing salutation. After the salutation, write your full name.

You can use the following from the list:

  • Best Regards,

  • Kind Regards,

  • Sincerely,

  • Thank You.

Or any other appropriate formal closing.

Some tips to get the cover letter right

Don’t come off as needy. Don’t make the tone of your letter a desperate plea for the job. Communicate yourself respectably. While writing the letter, put yourself in the manager’s shoes and offer value that you would not be able to reject. Finish strong, promise something of real value, value addition to the company. And lastly, end your cover letter with a call to action, suggesting that you have more information to share.

And now you are done. Proofread your letter, and check for grammatical mistakes or phrasing errors. Once you are confident that this will catch the eye of the hiring manager, press the send button!

By Prachi

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