A cover letter is one of the most important tools in job search and is often a first piece of communication with the potential employer. The aim of a cover letter is to introduce yourself and provide specific evidence of what you bring to the company. It should contain how your expertise and skills can add value and are in line with the skill set required for the desired role.
It is vital to do your research and invest time to get your cover letter right. Customize your cover letter so that it aligns with the job description for every position you are applying for.
A well-written cover letter demonstrates how keen you are for the job and also shows the time and efforts you have put in to consider the requirements for the specific role and how the company can be benefited by hiring you for the position.
An ideal cover letter would intrigue the hiring manager to know more about you and make them want to read your CV.
Tips to professionally write a cover letter1. Introduction
Introduce yourself to the hiring manager and make a strong case why you are a good fit for the job. Mention your most relevant experience and qualifications and express your interest to work at their company in particular.2. Experience
To grab the hiring manager’s attention, it is vital to emphasize on how your prior experience and skills can add value to the role you are interested in. Select two to three skills and achievements you would like to highlight and give examples of times or situations when you demonstrated those abilities to achieve results.
For example, Planned, developed and implemented all stages of enterprise software and system implementations for 5 major clients using innovative project management methodologies.
Wherever possible, add numbers to show how you have added value to previous companies you worked for. For example, Planned and managed project schedule and timeline for over 800 scheduled installations.
If you lack any experience, emphasize on some of your transferable skills like creative thinking, problem solving skills, team work, and communication etc. as well as provide evidence from projects, training, volunteer work, etc. that demonstrates that you have these skills.
3. Customize your Cover Letter
A hiring manager can quickly tell if you have written a standard cover letter to suit every position you are applying for and this can significantly reduce your chances of landing an interview. Therefore, customize your letter to target each specific job by matching your qualifications and experience to it.
Include the relevant keywords from the job description in your cover letter. If the job description requires the ideal candidate with experience in “leadership and decision making,” you may include your relevant experience for the same. For example, “conducted cost-effectiveness analyses for decision-making on proposed IT implementation projects and successfully led cross-functional teams to execute large projects.”4. Formatting
Format your cover letter properly and use a simple font. Your cover letter should not be longer than one page with maximum 3-4 paragraphs. If it is a physical letter then make sure you use business letter format. Write the date and the contact information of the employer at the top of the letter.5. Spelling and Grammar Check
Hiring managers scan hundreds of CVs and cover letters at a quick glance and a small error can ruin your chances of getting a potential interview. Hence, make sure to proof read your cover letter thoroughly and carefully to avoid any spelling or grammar errors. Ensure that you have the correct details including company name, hiring manager’s name, and date before sending the letter out.
Sample Cover Letter
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