When job hunting, most people tend to focus on preparing a stellar resume that’s guaranteed to blow potential employers away. However, there is another document that’s just as important, which, unfortunately, almost always falls by the wayside – the cover letter. A cover letter is a document that accompanies your resume and highlights specific work experience and qualifications that will reaffirm the fact that you’re qualified for the job. It’s basically a sales pitch that will market your credentials and help you score an interview with the employer. Being such an important document, how do you ensure that your cover letter is up to mark?
1. Emphasise why you’re a good fit
There will be no need for you to repeat the information you’ve included in your resume – not only does that constitute a wasted opportunity, employers may even consider it a waste of time! Neither should you summarise your resume – this just gives the employer a reason to not look at your resume. Instead, take the opportunity to demonstrate your understanding of the role and the company’s needs, then highlight your experiences and accomplishments that fulfill the requirements.
2. Find out to whom the cover letter should be addressed
Avoid using generic terms of address such as Sir, Madam or Miss – use your research skills to identify the HR Manager’s name! This shows that you took the initiative to do some research about the company and its key people. People love to be recognised and there’s no better way to recognise a key company figure than by identifying them by name in your communication to them. You can easily find the name and designations of key people in an organisation by reviewing the company website or carrying out a Google search.
3. Cover these 3 points
Cover letters are simple! Just follow this format, which comprises 3 main steps:
- Introduce yourself and explain why you’re interested in the position succinctly. Include information that shows you’ve done your research and are in-the-know about the company and industry.
- Highlight your strong suit and why you’re the best person to fill the role. What are the skills, experience and accomplishments you have that meet the requirements of the role?
- In closing, create a “call to action” – let them know when you will be following up.
4. Identify the top three requirements that you fulfill
The job posting will usually list the skills required for the role. Review it, pick the top 3 to emphasise and show how you fulfill those requirements by detailing how you completed past tasks successfully and what were the skills you employed.
5. Aim to stand out – don’t be generic
This means not using the same template for all the cover letters that you send out with your resume! You don’t want to appear lazy and unmotivated. Instead, tailor your cover letter to each role and company. Familiarise yourself with the job description and requirements, company highlights and key figures, and identify specific experience and skills to expand upon to strengthen your application. Customisation is key!