When applying for a new position, many job seekers wonder whether a cover letter is necessary. A cover letter is your first form of communication to a hiring manager or recruiter and should provide an introduction to your resume. Therefore, a cover letter is critical when applying for a job.
People often ask the questions “why can’t I just post or email my resume or application form and let it speak for itself?” “Is it necessary to include a cover letter?”
The answer to this last question is YES, you do need a cover letter.
Those in-the-know say the first impression of someone is made within 4-8 seconds. Even scarier is the prospect that once that first impression is formed, it’s very unlikely to change. If the chair of the selection committee opens your resume and discovers that you haven’t bothered to include a cover letter, it’s possible that your application will end up in the recycling bin.
Tips on What to Include in Your Cover Letter
Spelling or grammatical errors are unacceptable in a cover letter for any job application. Make sure you have your letter proofread. Once completed, your message should be printed using a standard font style on white or ivory resume bond or linen paper. You want it to look professional, so keep it neat, simple and correct format. Make sure that you spell the name of the contact person and the company correctly, and include your full name and contact details.
The first paragraph of your letter should include some important details. You will want to include the job you’re applying for, the job reference number, if available, and where you heard about the vacancy.
Research Before Writing the Cover Letter:
Communicate in your letter of introduction that you have some background information on the company and the position. A cookie-cutter template won’t get the job done. Checking the company website is an excellent starting point to gather important details. Find out as much as you can and make a point of explaining why you are interested in their organization.
Highlight the Value You Can Offer:
Knowing as much as possible about the company can make a difference when matching your skills and abilities to what they are seeking in a new hire. Write about why your skills and attributes would benefit the company. Explain what kind of contribution you could make. Make sure that what you say is relevant; for example: if you discover that the company is big on online marketing, then mentioning you are great at print advertising is not going to help!
Let Your Personality Shine Through:
The beauty of a cover letter is that it’s personal to you. It’s a chance for the selection committee to get a glimpse of your personality. Don’t be tempted to download a secondhand template and use it. It will be apparent to the reader and will come across as lazy and unimaginative.
Injecting some personality into your letter doesn’t mean filling it with irrelevant anecdotes. It means putting some thought and creativity into what you write. Try to make a connection with the reader and let the authentic you shine through.
Need additional help? Reach out to Candace for assistance!
Photo courtesy of Kittikun Atsawintarangkul /FreeDigitalPhotos.Net