What is a Cover Letter?
The humble Cover Letter for job seeking isn’t as old as you might have thought. The importance of cover letter. The first ever evidence of a Cover Letter requested by a business comes from a 1956 issue of The New York Times classified ad placed by Dutch Boy Paints seeking someone to fulfill a position for an Industrial Paint Chemist. Although Cover Letters may have predated this, this is the oldest piece of evidence explicitly requesting a Cover Letter from an applicant. Back then a cover letter could mean anything from “background” or “particulars” in these times the term Cover Letter is well defined.
A Cover Letter is a letter addressed to the business an applicant wishes to be employed by detailing their achievements, attitude, passion, and drive and it then goes over the resume itself. Thus, giving meaning to the name “Cover Letter” as it covers your resume and is a letter instead of a summary.
From the given information we can infer that the Cover Letter and a Resume are two different things. You can say that a Cover Letter is a part of a Resume and a Resume can contain a Cover Letter. This means that the content of the Resume and the Cover Letter that goes over it, can be similar but by no means the same. Let me explain.
Cover Letter is a Conversation
A Cover Letter much like any letter is a conversation, whereas a Resume is a presentation. In a Cover Letter, an individual uses a familiar, informal tone to address the employer in an attempt to convince them that they are the best choice for the employment opportunity. So, in short where a Resume presents an individual’s strengths, skills, and professional history a Cover Letter directly converses with the employer and explains why the applicant wants the job in question and what can he/she brings to the table i.e value to the company.
As mentioned before in modern times the rules of writing a Cover Letter are well defined. A cover letter contains 6 basic elements namely:
Employer Contact information
Each element has its own characteristics that we will go into further in this article but first…
Why should you Write a Cover Letter?
One of the most common questions that professional resume writers get asked when the subject of Cover Letters is brought up is “But do I have to write one?”. Let’s get one thing out of the way Cover Letters are not at all mandatory for most job opportunities, even today but neither is a car but when you need to get to work much like a car “Cover Letters” sure do help. So, long story short, the answer to that question is “Yes”, if you are serious about your future career then you should attach a matching Cover Letter with every resume you make.
A 2020 Human Resource survey showed the following statistics:
These stats indicate a few things:
If you take the time out to make a Cover Letter it will be read.
Recruiters don’t really have a preference in which shape or form a cover letter comes in, as long as it is sent.
A decent amount of hirers consider Cover Letters while making their decision.
Approximately 60% of job seekers aren’t using every advantage at their disposal by neglecting to write a Cover Letter and thus are giving others who do a better chance of landing their desired job.
And Yes Cover Letters are a crucial part of the resume writing process.
Basics of Writing a Cover Letter
In this section of the article, we will go over what you have to keep in the back of your mind when making a Cover Letter. These are the fundamentals of Cover Letter writing that every beginner and professional, alike, should keep in mind.
A Basic Cover Letter follows a three-paragraph structure that isn’t titled but instead lets the writing flow into one another. Apart from that remember that even though you’re writing a letter, and it is supposed to make you come across as amicable and personable in no way does that mean that it should be unprofessional.
Now, let’s go over each of the elements of a Cover Letter and see what they should ideally entail.
You would not believe how many newbies and professionals forget this part. Understandably, writing a Cover Letter isn’t as exciting as other things you’d rather be doing but hold your horses and take your time with it.
If an Employer wants to reach you they need some channel of communication to do so this is why this section goes at the top of your Cover Letter and should be titled in bold with relatively larger font size. It should contain your full name (the same as your driver’s license or passport), Address, Phone Number, Email, and any professional social media platform that you use for communication e.g LinkedIn profile.
Employer Contact information
This is the section where you list the business address of the Company that you are planning on applying to and their phone number etc. This part majorly gives your Cover Letter a professional aesthetic value but also shows that you are interested in the position enough to conduct a bit of research about the company’s background.
The greeting portion of the Cover Letter although short is still important because these three or four words determine your approach to addressing the company, the hiring manager, or the employer. Be cordial and professional. Don’t start your Cover Letter with “Hey How are ya?” and do not use “To Whom it may concern”. Although the latter may seem perfectly professional it is also very distant and gives off a disinterested tone which is very off-putting, furthermore, it’s been done to death and HR Manager and Employers are sick of reading it. “Dear Mr, SoAndSo” is what you’re looking for, and do research the name of the person you are addressing to earn a few bonus bias points.
The first paragraph in the Cover Letter 3 paragraph structure should be used to highlight the most impressive parts of your resume. This is the section where you highlight the most outstanding of your work experience, skills, achievements, accomplishments, etc. Additionally, this part can be used by an applicant to describe what they bring to the proverbial, professional table i.e what value an applicant adds to the company.
The second paragraph of the Cover Letter is the meat and potatoes of the Cover Letter and is the longest one. In this, you should try and convince the person you’re writing the Cover Letter to, that you are the best person for the job in question. Elaborate on what you can do but most importantly describe what you plan on doing when you do land the job. Research the company you’re applying to and if you see any discrepancies in operations or infrastructure point them out and suggest solutions. Whether your observation is right or not doesn’t matter because the aim of doing this is to show your interest in the company itself and an employer would rather hire someone who is interested over someone who is not.
The third paragraph is your chance to add the “cherry on top”. Here mention how you are looking forward to hearing from the company and are excited about the interview. Additionally, let the company know that you’ll be following up on the status of your application. This is important because this practice makes you memorable and even if you don’t land the job you’ll shoot your name at the top of the list of future openings available.
How to write a Cover Letter?
Now that we’ve gone over the basic structure of a Cover Letter and its contents, let’s look at a few things that you should be aware of while writing the thing.
Before you begin writing a Cover Letter take some time to get to know the company that you are writing the Cover Letter to. See what the company does and how they handle their day-to-day business. Additionally, take note of any areas in the business that could use a bit of improvement or any operations that may have a major flaw. This information will help you come up with content for your Cover Letter and will also make the HR Manager or Employer want to meet you, as you’ve already shown your interest in the company and thus landing you an interview which is one step closer to your goal of landing your dream job.
Targeted Cover Letter
Not all jobs and resumes are the same and each resume should be catered to fit the right job. The same goes for Cover Letters. Do not use the same Cover Letter for all job opportunities and instead write one for each job opportunity that contains information that is relevant for that one. Although time-consuming this practice adds value to your Cover Letter and piques the Employer’s or Hr Manager’s interest more than a generic Cover Letter with vague phrasing and irrelevant and unrelated information.
These are the “Work Histories” and “Skills” that an employer wants to see in a resume for that resume to be taken in for serious consideration. These are fundamental minimum requirements asked for by an employer from a candidate that wants to apply for a specific condition and can be found in the “Job Description” section of the “Job Listing”. Try and incorporate these keywords into your Cover Letter and Resume for the best results.
As mentioned before Tone of a Cover Letter is very important as it requires candidates to follow a strict line between formal and informal. A Cover Letter, even though a letter, isn’t really written like one. You can not be too loose with your Tone and use contractions and slang the same way you do while chatting with your friends but at the same time, you shouldn’t come across as robotic with no personality. Keep the tone of your Cover Letter friendly professional and relevant to the desired job.
Finally, always remember to proofread. Rome wasn’t built in a day and the perfect letter isn’t made in the first draft. Upon completion of your Cover Letter make sure to go through the thing again and see if you can pick up any mistakes or add improvements as required. Make sure you haven’t made any grammatical, semantic, and syntactic mistakes because neglecting them that’s the easiest way to ruin a perfectly good Cover Letter.
Furthermore, once you’re happy with your finished Cover Letter as a friend or family member give it a read, and upon getting their feedback make adjustments accordingly.
Tools for writing Cover Letters
Now you know the ins and outs of making a Cover Letter and its importance. Now, let’s talk about the practice itself. With the given information above we can deduce that making a Cover Letter isn’t as simple as one might think and also given the fact a “One Size Fits All” approach to Cover Letter writing isn’t recommended. Now you may be thinking that this seems like a lot of work and Yes, it is, especially if you want to apply for multiple jobs at the same time. This is where tools like Cover Letter Templates, Cover Letter Examples, and Cover Letter Builders become invaluable.
Cover Letter Templates
Cover Letter Templates are simple skeleton Cover Letters that lack content but come with sections for each element of the Cover letter and all a user has to do is type in the information to result in a perfectly good Cover Letter.
CV Cover Letter Templates also give users some freedom with the visual element of the Cover Letter. This simply means that Cover Letter Templates come in all shapes, sizes, colors, and designs and users have the freedom to choose which ones they think best fit their personality.
If you’re planning on applying to multiple jobs at the same time, creating a cover letter for each one can be quite the hassle. Using Cover Letter Templates in this scenario can save you a lot of time and effort.
You can find Cover Letter Templates online for free or for cheap from various sources and services. Some services allow you to create a Cover Letter with your choice of Cover Letter Template directly and share it via the web while others let you download Cover Letter Templates that users can fill out at their leisure.
Cover Letter Examples
Another great tool for Cover Letter writers is the use of Cover Letter Examples. Cover Letter Examples are samples of fully formed Cover Letters that have worked in a specific industry and their content is taken straight from the Cover Letter of someone who is already working in that industry or by professional Cover Letter Examples creators.
Cover Letter examples are great as they not only help you establish the look of your resume in relation to the industry you want to work in but also help you in coming up with the content of the thing.
However, Cover Letter Examples should only be used as a reference to see what your Cover Letter should look like and in no way are a cheat sheet, that you can just copy verbatim and put your name on. Used appropriately Cover Letter Examples can shave minutes off your Cover Letter writing time.
Cover Letter Examples can be found on numerous blog websites and web services. You can also get in contact with someone who already works in the industry you want to work in and ask to have a look at their resume. A request most people are happy to oblige and use this as a Cover Letter Example.
Cover Letter Builder
And finally, the most effective tool for making a Cover Letter is a Cover Letter Builder. A Cover Letter Builder is an online data compiler. That after taking some information from a user compiles a Cover Letter in no time. If you know what you want to write and are familiar with the Cover Letter writing process. Then using a Cover Letter Builder you can create multiple Cover Letters in a matter of minutes.
MyResumeLift Cover Letter Builder
The CV Maker Cover Letter Builder not only compiles information in the form of a Cover Letter but uses a Smart Algorithm to help users come up with the content for their Cover Letter.
After asking a few simple questions the MyResumeLift Cover Letter Builder builds a fully formed Cover Letter based on the user’s work experience, skill-set, and personality. This makes making a targeted Cover Letter a piece of cake.
The MyResumeLift Cover Letter builder comes equipped with multiple Cover Letter Templates that our users can pick and choose from without having to worry about formatting or structuring as they are all ATS certified and the choice solely depends on the user’s preference. Try the MyResumeLift Cover Letter Builder today.