“Please send across your updated CV and cover letter to the below-mentioned email” read the hiring process of that high profile job. The job description indicates that this position is the perfect match for you, but the very thought of creating a cover letter feels like a stumbling block. You may think, “What do I write in my cover letter”? True, for many of us writing a cover letter is more difficult than putting together a resume.
Let us find out why we need a cover letter in the first place when we already have CVs. Do our CVs not contain enough details of your professional experience and educational qualifications? Yes, our CVs do contain your professional achievements in a chronological order, but they do not tell our story. Cover letters have become an indispensable part of job applications today. These say more about you as a professional and also brings out your personality. It is something like a personalised note for the company. In fact, the Cover letter is the primary way of establishing a link between the aspirant and his prospective employer.
While resumes do have a pre-determined format, cover letters are more subjective. This is what makes it little dicey. However, there are certain Do’s and Don’ts for writing a cover letter that will make your profile stand out from thousands of other applicants.
Keep it short and crisp
For cover letters, less is more. Even though you may be tempted your life story, try to keep the cover letter restricted to just one page. This is an uphill task especially if you have more years of experience. But, remember that your recruiter has hundreds of other applications to go through, so the shorter and informative it is, the better.
Structure it well
The cover letter through very subjective needs to flow through a predetermined structure. The look needs to be professional and it must be neatly formatted. The first part should include a brief description of your overall profile and what responsibilities you have handled in the last three years. The second part must focus on your inclination for the particular role/ division and why you want to be a part of this. The third section should include your skills and experience that is relevant for the desired job. Lastly, the cover letter should end with you justifying your suitability for the role.
Speak in the company’s language
When you craft a cover letter, be sure to reflect their ideologies. For this you need to research well on the company and find out their mission, vision, goals and why the role you have applied for important for the company. Pay particular attention to the language they use to describe themselves. While discussing why you are suitable for this role, keep the language congruent to theirs. This will make it easier for them to be convinced about your interest and fitment for the role.
Share your journey with them
Your cover letter should bring out how you have evolved as a professional throughout your career. Which means the skill sets you started off with and how you have picked up the required technical as well as non-technical skills on your way up. It should clearly state the difference between you as a fresher and the experienced professional that you are today. If you are a fresh graduate, then the letter should show you have prepared yourself from being a student to an aspiring professional.
There are also certain things which you should avoid doing in a Cover letter. These absolute Don’ts are:
Typos and grammatical error
The first impression is the last impression. Please make sure that your Cover letter is free of spelling mistakes and basic grammatical errors. There are ample online tools to check these and do basic proofreading. Take help from there if required but ensure a well-drafted copy which is lucid and error-free. You must also ensure that the letter is formatted uniformly.
Being too generic
When you talk about what you know of the particular organisation, avoid being too generic. Touch upon the aspects which are lesser known and what you like about the company’s journey so far. It could also be the philosophy behind their brand image or their unique ad campaigns. You must also be careful about not being too generic when it comes to your skill sets and experience. The skills mentioned must answer the question: “How is it relevant to the desired job”? Being specific and to-the-point ups your chances of an interview.
While explaining why you are a perfect fit for the role, avoid sounding conceited. The language used in the letter must ooze confidence and humility, but not over-confidence. Bragging about yourself and your achievements reflects your arrogance and you may lose out on the opportunity. So be sure to be as humble and professional as possible.
So you see how important a cover letter is and how it can increase your chances of being noticed among piles of other applications. The letter is your first personal connection with the company as well as a fair chance to sell yourself as a professional. Keep it simple. Keep it short and Keep it succinct!