Introduction to Cover letter
Cover letters are not just a protective jacket for your CV but also is your first chance by which you can impress an employer. It is a single-page letter that you should put in as a part of any job application.
Do you need to write a cover letter for a job?
You may feel it is unnecessary, since you are already providing a resume full of information. But that’s not the case! A cover letter should not be included when in the ad it is mentioned to NOT include otherwise, you should always include a cover letter.
The first thing a potential employer will see in your job application is the cover letter and this is an opportunity for you to stand out from the crowd and the recruiter puts you to the next round.
Therefore, before sending in your profile, spend hours on perfecting your CV at the expense of your cover letter. If you need some inspiration on what to include and what format to use – guides, just remember not to copy them as exact templates.
Type/Situations to Write a cover letter:
a. Cover letters for when there’s no job advertised
Sometimes it happens that you want to work for an organization even though there no jobs advertised hence, contacting these businesses directly to ask if they have any jobs available is a perfectly legitimate thing. It shows an elevated level of motivation and enthusiasm, sometimes may lead to a job offer but even if there’s no vacancy, there’s a chance they could keep your details and contact you when a job is available.
This type of cover letter is written in a comparable way as a general cover letter, but with a few differences:
- Show you’ve researched the organization or business and know about what it does
- Mention why you’re interested in working for them (in terms of what they do and your own long-term goals)
- Show how your skills, experience and interest fit in with the goals of the business or organization
- Indicate what you’re hoping to get out of contacting them – do you want to know about positions currently available or to speak to someone about what it’s like to work there?
- Finish the letter by saying that you’ll contact them in a couple of weeks, but that you’re happy to talk to them if they want to contact you before that
If you haven’t heard back in a couple of weeks, it’s okay for you to contact them to ask for a response – try emailing them or calling them to discuss your letter directly.
b.Email cover letters
Sometimes you may be asked to send your cover letter as an email instead of a separate document. If this is the case you should:
- In the Subject mention your name and the job title (e.g. “Jayani Lal – Application for Administration Assistant role”)
- Remember you still need to use the name of the person you’re writing to
- Avoid formatting the body of the email like a traditional letter – leave out the contact details (yours and theirs) and just go straight to the “Dear XXXX” part.
- End the email with a professional signature that includes your phone number
- Always send the email from a professional looking email address
Why do you need a cover letter?
Either applying for a specific advertised job, or contacting a potential employer to check for any vacancies you need a cover letter which contains:
- Introduce you
- Mention the job (or kind of job) you’re applying for (or looking for)
- Match your skills and experiences with the skills and experiences required by the job
- Encourage the reader to read your resume
- Finish with a call to action (e.g., requesting an interview or asking to meet)
Ø How long should a Cover letter be?
A cover letter shouldn’t be more than one page in any case. It’s only a summary of the information that you have put in your resume, so keep in your mind that you need to be to the point while writing and keep it short.
Ø How to Introduce Yourself in a Cover Letter
Employers everyday get dozens of responses from job seekers on a single advertised job, in turn making the hiring process very competitive. Hence, professionally introducing yourself is the only key that will make you stand out in the market.
· Attention-Grabber Sentence: Start your cover letter telling about your qualifications because sometimes job advertisements state the minimum number of years of work experience before further consideration.
· Reason for Contact: Clearly mention why you are contacting the company and include the name of the advertised job opening in the first sentence.
· Source of Job Lead: Employers often want to know how you heard about job opportunities advertisements, referrals, word-of-mouth or networking. This technique could help your resume rise to the top of the pile, if the hiring manager knows of whom you speak.
·Value to the Company: Companies would like to know what benefit and value you can bring to the organization – they have business goals they have to meet, and they need employees that can help in this endeavor.
Now the question arises here…..
How to design effective and professional cover letter?
Ø Customize your cover letter
The same cover letter should never be used for different job applications.
Your cover letter should reflect that you are aware of work profile and what the organization requires by specifying your skills and qualities and how can you a useful asset to organization’s needs. Simple ways by which you can make your cover letter as specific as possible are:
- Find out whom to address it to: Avoid addressing your letter “To Whom It May Concern”, it might take a little bit of effort to find whom to address, but it’s worth it. While addressing a letter simple don’t use the person’s first name it would be more appropriate to use either “Mr.” or “Ms.”.
- Find out more about the job: In the process of finding out whom to address your application to, try to speak to that person so that you can ask questions that will help you form an impressive cover letter.
Questions you might consider:
- Can you tell me something about the job?
- Whom do you consider as an ideal candidate for the job?
- Is there a position description document I can look at?
- Find out more about the company: This is also an effective way to work out how to tailor your cover letter and some tips for the same are as follows:
- Look for information online using the company name.
- Check out the About Us page in the company’s website.
- Call the recruitment agency and ask who the employer is in case the company name is skipped in the ad.
Important Ingredients of a Good cover letter
- What TO include in a cover letter: A list of things that you should keep in mind to include when you sit down to write a cover letter.
- Your name and contact details: Always put your name and contact details, you may skip the postal address, at the top of your cover letter. But don’t forget to include your email and phone number which you’ll be able to answer- no sense giving your home phone if you’re not going to be home to answer it.
Ensure to give a professional sounding email address since an email address like firstname.lastname@example.org doesn’t create the right impression.
- Their name and contact details: Under your own name and contact details you should include the recipient’s details:
- The name of the person you’re writing to
- Their position or the name of their company
- Their contact details
If this information isn’t available you can directly call the company to ask to whom should the application be addressed to.
- The name of the job you’re going for: In the starting of your cover letter clearly mention for which job you’re applying for e.g. “Re: Application for Stock Controller position”or in the opening paragraph e.g. “I am writing to apply for the recently advertised Stock Controller position.”
- A list of your relevant skills: Mention a brief summary of your skills and experiences that match the job description in your cover letter. While applying for a job ad, do not skip answering the”essential” list of “desirable” skills and experience.Remember to cite examples as to how you’ve used the skills or how you got it.
- A summary of why you’re right for the job: After listing your skills and experience you should explain how does this intend that you’re suitable for the job.
- Speak their language: It is always good and easy to convince people why you’re suitable for the job when you speak in the same language as people in that job. Do a great deal of research on what company does and how it talks about itself, this you can use in your cover letter.
- Ask them to check out your resume & contact you: Consider ending your cover letter by asking the reader to look at your resume and also ask them to contact you about an interview. You may try something simple like this, “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: The things that you should NOT include in your cover letter are listed down here:
- Typos or factual errors: Always spellcheck your cover letter you may also ask someone else to read it and point out any mistakes or confusing things and double-check everything in your cover letter before final submission. Mistakes on cover letters are worse than typos.
- Your entire resume: This is the most common mistake, never cut and paste your resume into your cover letter, try to re-word, re-phrase the information rather than just repeating it.
- Using “I” too much: Avoid using too much of ‘I’ in your cover letter like “I believe”, “I have” and “I am”. Once you’re done writing your letter, look over it and see if you can take out – or rewrite – any sentences that start with “I”.
- Don’t mention your other job applications: It might happen that you have more than one job application at any time, it’s important not to mention other job applications. Remember that you’re trying to convince people you really want the job. Otherwise it will become hard for you to do it if they get to know that you’re looking for other jobs as well.
40+ Professional Cover letter templates
Cover letter is you’re the first method of communication with an employer. Hence it becomes vital that when it’s written it should compel to read further from the very first line. Here are some cover letter templates and samples that might help you increase your chances of getting an interview.
- Academic Cover Letter: While applying for a faculty position at a college or university, the cover letter will be reviewed by Human Resources department staff to determine if you meet the basic qualifications for the job and it is forwarded to a search committee comprised mostly of faculty members and academic deans.
Orient your letter towards the college and emphasis on teaching and research in accordance to the expectations in that setting.
Colleges will typically want to hire new faculty who are passionate about their current research therefore do not miss to describe a current project and express an enthusiasm for continuing such work.
Highlight any grants and funding you have received to undertake your research activities even incorporate any awards or recognition received for your teaching or research activities. You can also devote some words to describe your contributions to the college communities where you worked such as committee work, advising and collaborations with other departments.
- Business / Administration: The most important qualifications while applying for administrative and business jobs will be your communications skills and your evaluation starts when the hiring manager reviews your cover letter and resume. Making it important that there itself you form a good impression.
Before you start writing a cover letter, look at administration and business cover letter examples to get an idea of how to sell your credentials to the hiring manager.
Ø Technical Business: Merging the skills required in business technology is a valuable part of writing an effective cover letter and also include specific examples in your work experience that relate directly to the position you are applying for.
In the following example, the applicant is vying for a position as a Technical Business Analyst and has a significant amount of experience make a note of how their past work is related to the job posting as well as the business’ success as a whole.
Notice the referral from a business contact mentioned here, if you include a personal reference in the opening paragraph, it grabs the attention of the hiring manager or recruiter and may land you the interview.
Ensure to include technical details without over explaining the work while writing such cover letters and remember that the reader wants to understand what you know – particularly the programs and languages and how that related to your job.
- Consultant: In this type of cover letter always include your career plans, key accomplishments, and provide a glimpse into your personality and if you’re a fresher, you can highlight projects you were a part of during your schooling.
Remember to adjust the details to fit your situation and the specific position you are applying for while following any template to prepare your cover letter.
- Management: A cover letter written for a management level should include your accomplishments, the leadership roles and how you can help the organization succeed if you were to get the job.
What to Include in the Cover Letter?
Make your cover letter in such a way that your qualifications match up to the management skills listed in the job posting. The stronger your cover letter and resume matches to the job requirements, the better are your chances of getting selected.
Including quantifiable successes (numbers, percentages, growth statistics) is a way to show what you have achieved at the companies you have worked for and it is especially important for high-level jobs because employers expect a proven track record of success in the individuals they hire for management roles.
- Marketing: Are you interested in making marketing your career? If yes, while applying for your first position in marketing include in your cover letter any previous experience that highlights your related skills and abilities, and builds upon your resume. Tips for Writing an Entry Level Marketing Cover Letter are as follows:
- Include related experience in the body of your letter which are related to the job you’re applying for. If you are a fresher in this then include experiences where you demonstrated skills and abilities required for the job.
- One way to make your cover letter stand out is to provide specific examples of times you demonstrated skills or qualities needed for the job. Examples prove that you have what it takes to do the job well.
- Use keywords which you will find in the job description – words that emphasize the skills or qualities needed for the job. Including some of these keywords in your cover letter emphasizes how active and smartly suitable you are.
- A cover letter sample or template can help you decide what information to include, and how to format your cover letter however, while using be sure to change the information to fit the job you are applying for or it backfire you in interview round.
- Use the official business letter format when writing your letter as you want this letter to be professional.
- Edit, edit, edit… Be sure to thoroughly proofread your cover letter to be polished and professional, so that you make a strong first impression.
- Public Relations: When changing industries, or jobs, it is important to include the skills you have developed that will easily transfer into this new position in your cover letter. Including examples of projects, teams, or training’s you’ve been a part, allows the company to gain a better understanding of your background, and determine the impact you’ll make on the business.
Remember, this cover letter is a guide and it is important to tailor the letter to fit your situation and the job for which you’re applying.
- Recent College Graduate: Writing a cover letter as a recent college graduate can seem difficult, because you have limited work experience however, you still need to prove to the employer that you are an ideal candidate for the job.Tips for Writing a Recent College Graduate Cover Letter are as mentioned:
- Use keywords. Take a careful look at the job description, noting any skills or experiences that the description notes and try to include some of those keywords in your cover letter. This will help the employer build a connection between your experiences and the job.
- Focus on activities and responsibilities. In the body of your cover letter, emphasize on the skills and experiences that make you a suitable candidate and stand out from others. Avoid focusing on your GPA or grades, or other metrics related to college, instead focus on activities you did, and responsibilities you held like an internship, or were a leader in a school organization. These examples go beyond showing that you were a good student. They show you have what it takes to be a good employee.
- Sell yourself. Avoid talking about how much you want the job; instead, focus on how you will help out the company. Emphasize ways that you can add value at the company, and why you are a good fit for them.
- Show your knowledge of the company and for that you need to do some home-work. Research on the company before writing the cover letter as it gives a good impression. If possible, explain what you know about the company (or the department the job is in). Perhaps you’ve read an article about the company’s recent successes, or you’ve read and believe in the company’s mission statement. Knowledge of the company will put you a step above the competition.
- Edit, edit, edit. Make sure you thoroughly read through your letter, editing any types or grammar errors while keeping your letter short and to the point and an important point to note is to use language that is easy to understand. Ask a friend or career coach to read it for you as well.
- Email Cover Letter: When you’re sending an email cover letter, it’s important to follow the company’s directions on how to submit your cover letter and resume.
Tips for Writing an Email Cover Letter:
- Write in paragraphs of about two to four sentences and use proper grammar and spelling, just as you would in any other letter. Always make it a point to proofread yourself before sending it because once it’s gone you can’t help it.
- Avoid including emoticons or images of any sort.
- Perhaps more important than formatting, though, is the content of your cover letter. You can review the email cover letter samples, but be sure to personalize them to use to apply for jobs a directly copy pasted won’t work since it is easily identifiable.
- Pay close attention to the detail of the job description – specifically, the responsibilities and requirements- and make sure your cover letter reflects how you are a good fit. This can be achieved by picking and using the keywords as per the job profile and the work area intended.
- Flight Attendant Cover Letter: Jobs for flight attendants are competitive and the only way to stand out from the crowd is to write a strong cover letter that emphasizes your unique skills and abilities which make you unique to the queue of people standing outside.
In this case, an example of a cover letter for a flight attendant job can be help, choose one and then personalize it to reflect your own qualifications for the job.
Tips for Writing a Strong Flight Attendant Cover Letter
- Individualize your cover letter. Make sure to write a unique cover letter for each job you apply for. Every airline is different, and each one has different requirements and company culture. Your resume will stand out if you take the time to individualize each letter.
- Emphasize your skills. In the body of your letter, emphasize the skills you possess that make you a strong flight attendant. Use the list of flight attendant skills (see below) as well as the job listing, to get a sense of what skills you should highlight in your letter.
- Use examples. When stating in your cover letter that you have certain skills, include specific examples of times you have demonstrated those skills. If you have never been a flight attendant, you can draw on other work, volunteer, or school experiences to show your skills. For example, you can demonstrate your customer service skills with an example from a job at a clothing store.
- Edit, edit, edit. Be sure to thoroughly edit your cover letter for spelling and grammar errors. Flight attendant jobs are very competitive, and even a small spelling error can hurt your chances of getting an interview.
- Follow up. One way to stand out from the applicant pool is to follow up with the employer a week or two after sending your cover letter.However, do not do this if the job listing specifically asks you not to contact them.
- Research Technician: As a research technician, strong analytical, writing, and research skills are desired therefore highlight these skills, plus any other relevant skills, in your cover letter. In addition, provide examples of any laboratory experience or research you’ve been a part of. Try putting in your research papers that you presented or may be working with any faculty closely on a project.
- Software Developer: If you are applying for a job as a software developer, you will likely need to send a cover letter along with your resume submission. Consider, thinking of your cover letter as a place to showcase your most relevant skills. For instance, if the job calls for experience in a certain programming language, you can mention your certification or projects you have built using that language. Remember that each certification you mention, you have a hard proof of it available in your folder.
Companies may be interested in how you work with others and how you would fit in with the company culture, in addition to your coding knowledge.The cover letter also offers you an opportunity to explain why you are interested in this position, at this particular company.
- Social Worker: Do you need to write a cover letter for a social worker position? Review information on what to include in your letter, along with an example of a cover letter you can edit to fit your own employment history and skills.
Tips for What to Include:
· Expanding on previous work experiences in your cover letter is a great way to provide a narrative on how you would be an asset to the job and organization. Make sure to also include certifications you’ve received or related workshops you’ve attended.
· You can also express the challenges that you face and even the criticism if any from the society.
·Be sure to highlight your most relevant experience and skills. That way the employer can see at a glance why you are a good match for the position.
- Waiter: Are you applying for a job as a waiter or waitress? For some positions, you will apply by completing an online application or you may be required to apply in-person. For others, you may be required to submit a resume and cover letter for consideration.
In this case, you can always mention the reference from where you got to know of the vacancy and sometimes it may lead to a positive job offer.
When you write a cover letter for a waiter job, it’s important to highlight the skills you have that match the job requirements listed in the job posting.
Your resume should include your most relevant work experience, typically in chronological order. Sometimes, reverse chronological order is also preferred as it gives the latest info first.
- Sales: The pharmaceutical industry is one of the most lucrative career paths a sales person can choose, but it is also one of the most volatile and demanding. The salaries and bonuses can be extremely high, but it is also highly competitive and very difficult to get your foot in the door.
To get your application even viewed, you need to sell yourself shamelessly. The best way to do this is through networking. Never feel ashamed of asking someone to refer to a company for a possible vacancy.
By attending industry conference, networking events and connecting with people on LinkedIn, you can meet leaders in the field and even get linked to potential opportunities.
When it comes time to apply, you’ll have an advantage over the other candidates since your name and face will be recognized. Particularly in sales, people expect sales persons to be aggressive and persistent, so networking can be a huge asset to your career.
Use your cover letter to demonstrate your knowledge about the company and its product base. For instance, if the company focuses on biologic rather than medicines with broad appeal, you need to mention that as it’s a huge differentiating factor for the company. Showing that you understand the difference means that it will be easier to train you on pharmaceutical regulations, drug specifics and safety information once hired.
- Event Planner: Event planning positions require impeccable organizational, communication, a great vision, leadership qualities and planning skills. To grab an employer’s attention, provide examples of previous event experience, and detail the ways in which your involvement directly led to the event’s success and also, try to showcase what were the challenges you faced and how you dealt with them.
- Market Research Analyst: Are you applying for a position as a market research analyst? In your cover letter, you’ll want to demonstrate that you have the research, analytical, and other skills required for market researchers. The key point here would be including facts and figures in whatever previous works your about to cite her.
Since this position calls for analyzing data to find areas of improvement, ranging from increasing ad impressions to driving sales conversions, it will certainly be helpful if you provide examples of instances when you have spearheaded projects or initiatives that generated or saved money or made other powerful contributions to the company.
As well, your cover letter should also express that you have the exact experience and skills outlined in the job advertisement — here is more information on how to match your qualifications to a job and tips for writing a targeted cover letter.
- College Senior: A cover letter for your first professional position after graduation should highlight both your academic experiences and your past work but that depends if you have it. Include your academic concentration, especially if it’s relevant to the position you’re applying for, along with your personal experience. You may also include your extracurricular activities which show how active and aware you are.
Of course you will face some challenges while composing a cover letter for College Seniors like how do you build a convincing cover letter when your work experience consists of perhaps working as a lifeguard, cat sitting or volunteering in a hospital? Or, how does that translate into a hiring opportunity for real work? Here are some tips from Forbes.com on “How To Write A Cover Letter When You Have No Experience.”
- Opening paragraph: Introduce yourself, specify the job you’re applying for, state how you learned about it, and whether a personal connection referred you. For example: My name is Bob and I’m a senior at UCLA, majoring in communications. I saw a flyer in my department about the entry level job at The Tribune.
- Second paragraph: Establish a connection between you and the employer. Read the company’s blog posts, at least a dozen over time; research their social media presence. Look up everything you can about them online. Then describe how your background meets the job description. Use results-oriented examples when possible. For example: “I see you’re looking for a self-starter. I ran a crowdfunding campaign that successfully raised $3000 to buy five computers for a local shelter.
- Third paragraph: State how your personal traits make you a good fit for the job. Are you an entrepreneur, a wizard with languages, a natural with kids? Use short anecdotes to illustrate your examples.
- Part-Time Job: When you are applying for part-time positions, you should follow the same procedures as you would if the position was full-time. You need to put the same care and attention into your resume and cover letter as you would when applying for a full-time job.
What to Include in the Letter?
Begin your letter with a polite salutation to the hiring manager. If you have a contact name, be sure to use it.
- In your first paragraph, introduce yourself, and express your interest in the position. At no point make it sound like your need and not your passion. Be passionate while putting in your efforts in framing the letter.
- Your second paragraph is where you specify your qualifications, and make correlations between your skills and the requirements of the job. Clearly bringing out as to why you are suitable and most apt for the job rather than other people.
- You can include a third paragraph with your follow up plan, and end with a professional closing.
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