How to Write Your Winning Cover Letter

How to Write Your Winning Cover Letter

First off, why bother writing a cover letter when the resume is most needed by companies? Because having a good cover letter will make you stand out in a sea of just resumes.

Cover letters are often misunderstood to be just an essay version of your resume, but it is far from it. Your cover letter is your opportunity to make a first impression based on your personality to the hiring manager. Here are 7 things to know when writing your winning cover letter.

1. Address to a person who works in the company

The first mistake made by a lot of candidates is addressing their cover letter to an unknown person, namely “To Whom It May Concern.”

In an age where most of the peoples’ lives are online, this just comes off as lazy and sloppy. Look through the job post and find out who is the contact person or the hiring manager. If it cannot be found, do a Google search or search on LinkedIn to find out who the VP of the department is and address it to them.

2. Write like you speak

Avoid super formalities such as “With the aforementioned experience, I hereby declare my interest….”

The person reading is also human and they would prefer if you talk like one. Silicon Valley investor, Paul Graham wrote an essay on this and it’s referred to as the “spoken language.”

Remember that this letter is to serve as starting a dialogue and not a one-off speech.

3. Write confidently

Do not undersell yourself by saying things such as “I know you have other qualified candidates than me….”

And avoid highlighting your weaknesses. Instead, highlight your strengths only and hyper focus on relevant points found on your resume.

Use the cover letter to introduce yourself in the best light and to talk about things that would be beneficial to the hiring manager.

4. Watch your spelling

Are you concerned about your spelling? Are your apostrophes not always spot on?

If so, ask a friend to spell check your cover letter for you or refer to this infographic for the common spelling mistakes.

5. Articulate your fit

Now we get the crux of the matter – why you are what they are looking for.

Companies don’t just hire people to fill up a role, they hire people to make their lives easier. Exhibit your knowledge and enthusiasm for the company. In other words, show them you have read their site, used their product and offer your solutions.

Further, emphasize your fit by adding examples to your strengths and relevant experiences.

6. Remove the redundancies

Avoid clichés like “I’m a fast learner… I think outside the box… ” and other redundancies.

Words like “I think… I feel… Really/Very….” are redundant and can give off a very wrong impression.

For a more detailed resource, read this.

7. Follow the 3 C’s of Writing

In three words, you will understand what makes good writing - that is Clear, Concise and Compelling.

David Silverman highlighted on the Harvard Business Review of a cover letter that he received that it was just 5 sentences and titled it the best cover letter he ever received.

Writing a cover letter is not difficult nor is it easy. There’s a fine balance to play between being needy for a job or being confident you are the right fit for the role, but having one thoughtfully written cover letter alone – is enough to separate you from the pack and stand out.

Author Bio: This post was written by Ben Sim from iPrice group.

Why You Should Write a Cover Letter

Why You Should Write a Cover Letter

“Your resume is the advertisement while your cover letter is part of your marketing campaign.”

According to Martin Yate, a cover letter is a letter of introduction attached to, or accompanying another document such as resume or curriculum vitae. It is a formal letter describing the resume and/or other items and the reasons for sending them. In a survey by Office Team, more than nine in 10 (91 percent) executives polled said cover letters are valuable when evaluating job candidates. In addition, nearly eight in 10 (79 percent) respondents indicated it’s common to receive cover letters even when applicants submit resumes electronically.

Cover letter should be the first thing that hiring manager sees from an applicant. It should introduce the applicant’s skills and qualifications. But in the Philippines, applicants—mostly entry-level, barely submit a cover letter. This is a very big mistake because even Business Insider said that cover letter is more important than resume.

Importance of Cover Letter

Do you really think that cover letter is not important? Well, think again. Cover letter not only narrates your intention for the position but it recounts your edge over other candidates.

  • It is usually the first thing a hiring manager sees.
  • Could be the deciding factor between you and another candidates.
  • It gives you the chance to tell employer why you are the perfect fit for the job.
  • Narrates what you have to offer that will benefit the company or make a difference that others don’t.
  • Tells what makes you stand out from the crowd.
  • It is what sells you to the prospective employer.
  • May be instrumental in your resume “leaping to the top of the pile”

Recruiter Tips

“Competent job seekers submit a cover letter.”

  1. Even if the job posting did not require cover letter, submit one.
  2. Spend as much time perfecting your cover letter as you do to your resume.
  3. Don’t copy and paste from internet samples but if you have no choice, customize it like you’re writing in your tone.
  4. Begin by telling the screener which position you are applying for.
  5. Target each cover letter to each job. Don’t send the same cover letter to every employer.
  6. Keep it brief – good rule of thumb is 2-3 paragraphs for email and one page if printed.
  7. Tell how and why you would be an asset to the company by sharing how your qualifications, strengths and accomplishments match the job specifications.
  8. Research the employer, search online and talk to members of your professional network.
  9. Demonstrate your knowledge of the firm as you explain how your skills and background are a fit.
  10. Don’t rehash your resume in the cover letter.
  11. Use the hiring manager’s name in the address.
  12. Add a catchy P.S.
  13. Double check and proofread.
  14. If someone recommended you—you may want to include the person’s name.
  15. If responding to an advertisement, mention the source.
  16. Spell addressee’s name correctly and use proper title.
  17. Use a colon after their name, not a comma. Colons are used for business letters—commas for personal.

Now, what do you think? Should you write a cover letter? You decide.

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