Cover Letters: Essential or just not necessary?August 15, 2018
Your resume is top-quality, your LinkedIn profile is optimised and your interview techniques are honed to perfection. Do you still need to include a cover letter with your job application? The answer is yes, but there are certain things to keep in mind to maximise your chances of landing an interview.
Technology has drastically altered the way we apply for jobs. If your resume survives the keyword-scanning process, the next step is likely to be a thorough review of your online footprint. Only then will a recruiter look more closely at your application. This is your chance to make an impression with a well-written cover letter.
Your resume gives the full picture of your work history and experience, but think of your cover letter as the frame. Use it to highlight the key accomplishments and achievements from your previous roles that make you stand out as the right candidate for the job.
First, check the job advertisement for specific requirements relating to the cover letter. Does it need to be sent in a particular format? Who should you address it to? If the job listing doesn’t specify the addressee, find out! Check the company website, LinkedIn or Twitter and if all else fails, call the company directly. A letter addressed to a specific individual rather than a generic “Dear Sir/Madam” will get a far better response.
Open your letter by introducing yourself, mentioning where you heard about the vacancy and briefly explaining why you’re applying for the job. Do not mass mail the same cover letter to fifty vacancies. It will immediately be obvious to the recruiter that you didn’t take the time to tailor your application. Note the specific requirements for the position and highlight how your skills and experience are a good match. Like your resume, your cover letter will be scanned for keywords, so it’s worth mirroring the language used in the job advertisement here if possible.
Always keep in mind that the main focus should be what you can do for the company. Why would you be a valuable addition to the team, what skills do you have that set you apart from the other applicants and why should they choose you? Do some research, demonstrate that you’ve done your homework on the company you’re applying to and that you know what they’re about.
Your cover letter is also an opportunity to bridge any gaps in your resume. Do you have a long break between jobs that could be queried? Explain the reason in your letter. If you’re hoping to make a career switch, you may be concerned that your background isn’t relevant to the role. Can you demonstrate how your current skills could be applied to this position? For example, if you’re a hotel receptionist applying for an entry-level HR position, you might highlight how dealing with unhappy customers has improved your ability to communicate clearly in a heated situation.
I would love to hear your feedback if I have helped you in anyway with this post. Leave a comment below. If however you require any assistance, just contact me.