Creating a cover letter format is the next important step for any job application after making a résumé.
What do you usually overlook when sending your résumé for a job?
Your Cover Letter.
Most of us do, and it is the most important thing apart from your résumé. It is the first impression any potential employer will get of you. Some might debate this, but for me, a cover letter is as vital as your résumé if you are serious about getting that job.
So what is it about a cover letter that makes it so important?
A cover letter is like a short introduction about you in a formal way to the person who is going to hire you.
In a succinct way, it can tell the person about you and make your résumé more desirable.
There are some very necessary points that a cover letter should have.
Here are some simple tips to format a cover letter:
#1. Make it brief
The hiring manager or the recruiter is not going to be interested in reading a lengthy cover letter as it may reduce their interest level in your job application.
Having said this, the length should always be optimal. You should be able to portray yourself in a good, concise way. Making it short does not mean you need to cut down on highlighting your skills or expertise.
Make the cover letter stand out in a way that, with a glance, your suitability for the job is evident.
#2. Talk about your accomplishments
The primary intention of the cover letter is to grab the attention of the person who is going to hire you.
It will help if you talk about any of your accomplishments or awards in your previous projects that highlight your expertise.
#3. State the role
A cover letter is like a small introduction to your résumé. The résumé will hold all your extensive work experience, skills, projects lists, etc.
You do not have to mention all of these in a cover letter, but do mention the role for which you are sending your résumé.
This makes it easier and clearer for the hiring manager to categorize your résumé.
#4. Address the hiring manager
It is old-fashioned to begin your cover letter with “To whom it may concern.” Address the hiring manager directly. If you do not know their name, just say “Dear Hiring Manager.”
It would be a good thing to find out the name of the manager as it would be more efficient if the name is mentioned. It gives a more personal touch to the letter.
Clearly state why you are interested in the role and why they should consider you.
It is only natural that recruiters choose the candidates who are most interested in applying for the job.
The cover letter should describe why you are interested in the role and what qualities or skills you can bring to the role.
Sometimes, it is helpful to state some of your projects briefly.
It is also vital to mention your knowledge about the company, which, in turn, shows your interest in joining the company.
#5. Format separately for email and hard copy
You will be sending your cover letter by email more than handing out a hard copy. There are some things you need to keep in mind when sending your cover letter as a soft copy. Always choose a professional font like Arial, Times New Roman, or Calibri, etc. You don’t want to lose out on a great opportunity just because you chose a horrible font for your cover letter.
Subject lines are very important and have to address the purpose you are sending the cover letter. You must mention the job in your subject line.
Finally, do not repeat your résumé. Make the letter a short, more personal form of it. If it looks like a résumé again, the person at the other end might lose interest in your actual résumé.
Try to check for errors and proofread as many times as possible. You don’t want a cover letter with mistakes in grammar to reach them.
What has been your experience of writing cover letters? Does a job application still need a cover letter?