Often people write a resume and thus end all the preparation process for a job search. However, such an approach can be compared with going into battle with a sword (resume), but without a shield (cover letter).
A cover letter is needed to interest the employer in your candidacy. You must write it, and moreover, you should do it for each vacancy separately. A unique and correctly written cover letter is the first step to work in your dream company. A good cover letter can be a decisive argument when choosing between two similar candidates.
Little Bit of Stats:
- According to various sources, recruiters spend from 6.25 seconds to 30 seconds on viewing one resume. Apparently, they are also not ready to spend a lot of time on a cover letter. So the first paragraph is the most important.
- Paradox, but along with it, 90% of HR consider the cover letter to be the essential format of applying for a job. They respond much more positively to responses with cover letters even if they do not have time to read them.
- According to recent research, recruiters are 15% more likely to prefer emotional stories to constructive writing with plain facts, all else being equal.
Thus, the main aim may be set like “to find a balance between creativity and appropriateness, as well as good writing and brevity.”
…But the Right Attitude First
Do not put yourself in the position of “looking for work.” You should put yourself in the “offer my services” position. You wouldn’t believe it, but this approach is going great. This should read from the first to the last line of your letter – you are a professional, and you have something to offer. You’ll probably think: “Well, what about people who yet not have 5-10 years of experience? Being fresh out of college or university, what can I give the company?” Do not despair, and never underestimate your strengths!
Youth and inexperience may relate to them too if you know how to present it. For instance, you may have fewer skills, but more motivation, a fresh look at a particular industry and more relevant education! Do not forget that these days, any industry is developing very rapidly, and the later a person got an education, the more correct and topical set of knowledge he had obtained.
Many teams wouldn’t mind having a fresh pair of eyes and take young people at least to raise the general team spirit. Take, for example, app creators and builders – here one can find templates on how to present yourself to this position as well as learn the perfect candidate’s qualities. So, the bulk of the professionals involved in the mobile apps market are people in their 30-40s. But they use apps differently than those who are 20-25. Why? Because they learned to use them at a conscious age, and young people were born with them. So everyone has their own trump cards. Just think and find them!
How to Write a Cover Letter: 5 Essential Rules
- Remember that a cover letter is kind of an announcement of your CV, not a retelling. In the CV, you may dwell on your past and present, but you’d better focus on the future in your cover letter.
- Write a cover letter for a specific company and vacancy. Companies need to understand why you want to work with them and what you can offer them.
- Do not use cliches just because they are beautiful and long. Cliches, formalisms, and abstract epithets do not help you interest an HR recruiter. Official and impersonal letters are annoying because they do not provide an answer to the main question – why do you think you will be the best in this position. In addition, employers and HRs are so tired of such careless and unprofessional cover letters that they may put aside your file or even not review it at all.
- Do not neglect the logic and follow the structure of the text. It should be easy to read.
- Be sure to check for both factual and spelling mistakes, misprints. An illiterate cover letter reduces your chances of getting an offer.
What to Put in a Cover Letter. Step-by-Step Guide
- Who are you contacting?
Try to clarify the person’s name and address him or her in person. But if this is not possible, simply write: “Dear Recruiting Manager or Dear Human Resources Professional of such and such a company” or something similar. Such a generic wording would be appropriate – you should not try to show your imagination in a salutation if you want to be courteous and tactful.
- What do you want?
Immediately indicate which position you are applying for. This will make life easier for the recruiter – they can have a lot of vacancies. It is also good to refer to the source from which you learned that the job is open.
- Why do you submit a CV to this exact company and this position?
Tell why you are interested in this professional area or niche. And most importantly – why you want to work in this company. To answer this question briefly and clearly but personally, you have to look for the company’s website, study its social network profiles, and create your own sincere opinion.
- Why should this company hire you?
List all the arguments that prove that your qualifications match this job. Think about what kind of problems this company probably has which they want to solve with the help of this vacancy. Describe how you can be useful. Talk about what exactly you can offer to the employer, instead of writing about “great experience,” “leadership skills,” and “stress tolerance.”
- Do you meet all the requirements for the job?
Link the information to what you learned from the job description. Prove to the recruiter that you match the requirements. Use information about a vacancy to write a cover letter (items from the sections “Requirements” and “Job Description”). Be sure to show that you have the necessary skills. This is especially important if formally, you do not fully meet the specified requirements.
- Be sure to thank at the end of the letter
Still, the person paid attention to your cover letter and spent time on it.
Common Cover Letter Mistakes
- Failure to comply with the rules of business communication.
- Cliche, repetitions, superfluous and meaningless epithets (instead of them, it is better to give specific facts, figures, and examples).
- The structure is broken, or the text is written in one piece, without paragraphs and highlights.
- Grammar errors (be sure to check your text – there are enough special online services).
Read your letter several times, do not forget to attach a resume and feel free to send it to your employer!
And here is one more tip! P. S. attracts attention in any letter – this is a psychological effect. Even if the reader merely scrolls the text, the postscript catches the eye, since subconsciously we think that there must be something important in this part of the message. Marketers are well aware of this and actively use this fact in email newsletters.
For cover letter writing, this method can be used to provoke feedback.