A cover letter is a special job application document that is used to introduce the contents of a resume to a recruiter. It basically summarizes the contents of the resume to let the employer know in a nutshell what to anticipate from you. The letter accompanies the resume and is used side by side them.
Upon receiving the cover letter and the resume, the employer will go straight to the letter. It is the contents of this letter that will determine whether the employer will consider you for an interview or not. That is why it has to be drafted in a professional manner.
Format of a basic cover letter
A typical cover letter comprises the following headers and contents:
At its top should be the pieces of information concerning the prospective employer’s contact details and the date when the letter is drafted. These include the address, name, e-mail, and telephone contacts. In the event that you send it out via e-mail, include your own details after the signature.
A cover letter should begin with both you and the employer’s contact information (name, address, phone number, email) followed by the date. If this is an email rather than an actual letter, include your contact information at the end of the letter, after your signature.
Salutation is an utterance or gesture that is used in a letter to address the person to whom the letter is being written. Common examples include Ms. Mr. Dr. and so on. If you are unsure of the designation of the receiving person, use such terms as “To Whom It May Concern” or “Dear Hiring Manager.”
At this stage, you state the position you are applying for. This introduction entails explaining where you heard about the vacancy, the skills you have and how they match the current position you are applying for plus your availability to start working. Use a tone that will likely captivate the attention of the reader.
This is the core of the cover letter. It spans one or two paragraphs. In these paragraphs, you showcase why you are interested in the job and what makes you feel particularly suited for the same. Avoid the temptation of rehashing the contents of your resume as the document exists for that very purpose.
In this last stage of your cover letter, you simply restate a few of your skills and how they place you at an advantage or privileged position for the company. Also, explain why you would like that very company. Finish off by saying that you anticipate a call for an interview to clarify any issues.
In case the letter is typed or handwritten, you have to append your signature. Follow this by typing your own name, email address, and telephone contacts. The signature may have to be forfeited if the letter is drafted and sent out via the e-mail though.
What to include in the cover letter?
Position Applied For
You should include the position you apply for. As a matter of priority, you should include the job title in the opening paragraph of the letter. This is the core of the letter as it is the one that spells out that you are indeed submitting your application for the advertised job.
Source of Information
Where exactly did you receive the information? Is it on a job search site, a public job poster, a local daily, internet search engine or you were referred to the vacancy by another person? Specifying this will definitely draw a connection with the company and boost your chances of succeeding.
Why do you suppose you are qualified for the job? Do you have the bare minimum academic qualifications and professional work experience? Needless to say, you have to match these qualifications with the demands of the jobs. That is the only way you will bolster your chances of success.
What are some of the benefits that your prospective employer will most likely accrue from employing you? On the same note, why would you work for this specific company and not any other? One sure way of doing this is to skim the company’s values, goals, and missions. Then, line your skills and ethos with them.
Get assistance from cover letter samples
Thanks to email, you, like many job seekers, may not have written a formal business letter in years. A cover letter template guides you through the process of laying out your letter so you appear professional and prepared. A cover letter template also helps you figure out how to highlight what you do best and how to connect your skills to the job you want to land.
To prepare to fill in a cover letter template with your information, gather the following:
- The hiring manager’s (or recruiter’s) name and title, if available
- The physical address of the company to which you’re applying (check the company’s website for help)
- The complete title of the position you’d like to fill
- Any keywords from the job description that you can work into your letter to match the skills the company is seeking
- Bonus: Examples of your work or volunteer experience that ties to the role for which you’re applying
Once you gather all this information, you’re ready to complete your cover letter template. Follow the steps and fill in the text. A cover letter template can help you ease your anxiety and let you focus on your job hunt. Good luck!
Samples & templates
Sample Cover Letter 07
Sample Cover Letter 08
Difference between a Resume and Cover Letter
A cover letter is just that, a letter. It hardly fills up a page of A4 paper size. This is because of the fact that it only comprises the bare minimum details you would need to introduce yourself to a potential employer. The resume, on the other hand, is detailed and comprises the finer details of your skills.
In its basic shape and form, the cover letter only highlights a few of your strong points and why you feel particularly suited for the vacancy. A resume, on the other hand, breaks down the qualifications to their finest details. It hence goes beyond to reveal the sum total details that a recruiter requires for the final outcomes.
The basic role of a cover letter is to introduce yourself to a prospective employer. It goes ahead slightly to highlight a few of the contents and strong points of the resume. A resume, however, takes the reader deeper to those finest details that he needs to know to be able to make a compromised decision.
A typical cover letter comprises 2-3 paragraphs. It also comes structured in paragraphs and prose. The resume is however longer and may also contain bullets, paragraph indentations and other forms of special formatting. Generally, the resume is longer and more complicated than a standard cover letter.
There you have them! We have done all we can to express to you the finer contents of the cover letter and what sets it apart from the resume. With this knowledge at your fingertips, we now believe you can go ahead and utilize the two concepts just fine!