A well written cover letter makes a difference and is an important ingredient of a job application. For some, writing a cover letter may seem like a herculean task but skipping it is not advisable as a good cover letter can really get you a step closer to your dream job!
A cover letter is a document that acts as a first impression of the job seeker to the employer as it’s the earliest written communication between the two. It allows one to show, why they are the right person for the position and how their skills match those desired to take up the job. Whether you are applying for a job or sending speculative application or requesting information and help in job search, cover letter is important.
To write a cover letter, using proper business letter format is advisable. This format includes the date, name and address of the person/organization one is applying to. For the letter, one of the suggested ways is a three paragraph structure.
In first few lines, write about the role being applied for and the name of the company. If there’s any reference, do mention his/her name. Use this paragraph to explain your passion for the cause that the organization is working for. One may get the same role in other organizations too but one must mention what was it that made them apply to this particular organization. It’s good to add a personal touch and tell a story if it indicates your motivation for the organization’s cause.
In the following paragraph, one should try to explain why they are the right candidate for the job and how this job will help them in their career path. Mention your relevant qualification and experience that match the essential criteria of the job. Briefly explain your accomplishments, but refrain from being boastful.
In the last paragraph, just try to conclude your letter on a positive note, with a line suggesting that you expect to be interviewed. Do not forget to thank the employer for their time and consideration.
While writing a cover letter following tips can be beneficial:
Avoiding a generic salutation , such as “To whomsoever it may concern.” Instead write the name of the organization or the hiring manager.
Demonstrating your skills with examples rather than just saying them. For e.g. rather than saying you are committed for the cause, mention that you have taken courses in that area or have volunteered in an organization that has similar mission and vision.
Refraining from writing lengthy cover letters as people may have time constraints to go through the letter and may miss out on certain important points. Stay focussed to the point you are trying to make; saying too many things may confuse the prospective employer.
Tailoring your cover letter to the specific job. By having a ‘one for all’ cover letter, one may miss out the chance to specify the skills you have that matches the desired skill set.
It’s not advisable to make demands such as salary, holiday preferences, working days etc., unless asked for.
Being honest and not stretching about ones’ achievements and skills.
Not forgetting to check the letter for typing and grammatical errors as they would be the last thing one would want in their letter.
A well drafted concise cover letter is surely going to leave a lasting impression on the employer, so spend some time thinking about what must go in the letter and be creative.
Swati Chhibber is a graduate from Jesus and Mary College, Delhi University. She received her Master’s degree in Public Administration from Jamia Millia Islamia. One of the most distinguishing characteristics is the diversity of experience she possesses. She has a wide experience in Human Resource Management. And she has also interned with Social and Human Sciences, UNESCO at New Delhi. She has an inbuilt flair for development sector and believes in living life on the edge. Her Profile may be seen at http://in.linkedin.com/pub/swati-chhibber/22/a6b/64a/