Many professional applicants choose to include a cover letter with their resume or application when submitting a bid for an open position with a company. Cover letters are simply letters that are addressed to the hiring committee or chairperson in charge of filling a position within a company and are a good way for a corporation to understand a few things about an applicant prior to meeting them:
1. How articulate is the applicant? Cover letters will provide a basic understanding of the type of communication that the applicant is most familiar and comfortable with. If the corporation largely relies on email communications, but a person cannot write a coherent cover letter, this may indicate the job may not be a great fit for them.
2. How dedicated is the applicant? Cover letters do not just write themselves and they do take some research on the part of the applicant to understand the best way to write a letter to the corporation. In this respect, a very good cover letter could indicate that the applicant is willing to go above and beyond the job requirements when needed.
3. How bad does the applicant want the job? In many cases there may be a tie between applicants with regards to qualifications and job fit, yet the hiring committee hires the applicant that is “chasing” the job harder. Well written cover letters indicate preparedness and desire.
In order to provide an effective cover letter, remember a few specific tips.
1. Begin the letter with a personalized salutation – Do a bit of research and determine the name of the person whom will be accepting your letter. Address the letter to them as this will add a very personal touch to a normally impersonal task.
2. Customize the letter – Research the company and the job as much as possible. Pick keywords out of the job description and use them to help describe your past experience or qualifications. Utilize this information to tailor every aspect of the letter to sell you and your skills as the best for the position.
3. Focus on your strengths – Do not include information that could not be considered a strength. Remember, this is a chance to sell yourself, nothing more. Any other pertinent information that needs given to the employer can be dealt with AFTER you get an interview.
4. Provide your contact information and keep the tone professional – While the letter is a chance to show your potential employer who you are and why you are the best at what you do, it is still important to maintain a professional attitude throughout the letter. Provide the most up to date contact information so that the employer can get a hold of you and then close the letter professionally (Sincerely or Kind Regards are two good endings to use).
Stick to these tips and your cover letters will be drawing you more attention than you ever thought possible during the job hunt process.