What is the purpose of a cover letter?

What is the purpose of a cover letter?

Cover Letter A-z guide, samples & templates. 

Looks like you have just found a job advertisement that you wish to apply for. You have got your resume ready and you were about to hit the send button, but wait! Is that enough? Sending a resume without a cover letter is a straight no-no.

What is a cover letter? 

A cover letter also known as a covering letter is a letter of introduction attached to a job application or resume or curriculum vitae. The cover letter should include an introduction, skills and all the relevant information on the experience and past accomplishments. 

Normally a recruiter receives over a hundred applications every day. Almost all the resumes include identical skills, experiences and keywords. Before they finalize a list of applicants to be invited for a face-to-face interview, the recruiters want to ensure they call the right candidates. They look out for differentiators. A personalized note AKA a cover letter along with your resume acts as your wingman. 

What is the purpose of a cover letter? 

As your wingman, The prime purpose of a cover letter is to brag about your relevant experience, capabilities, skill and achievements. It explains why you should be considered for the position, over other applicants. It shows what you bring to the table after you are hired. Why you are the most suitable candidate for the position.

Still, most job applicants do not understand the importance of a cover letter. A recent survey shows that almost 80% of job applicants do not send a cover letter for entry-level positions. If you decide to send a professional cover letter along with your job application, you are already ahead of 80% of your competition. 

A job application along with a customized cover letter ensures that your application stands out and guarantees an interview call. 

So if you ask what is the purpose of a cover letter? read on to find everything about the cover letters.

How long should a cover letter be?

Ideally, a cover letter should be three paragraphs long. Anything above three paragraphs becomes too long for a recruiter. 

The first paragraph of the cover letter should talk about how you found the job vacancy and why you would be interested in the position

The second paragraph should talk about your relevant past experience and skills and why you are the best-suited candidate for the vacancy

The third paragraph should reiterate your interest in the position and include a call to action. 

Your cover letters should be professionally crafted & designed to engage and must provoke the recruiter to take action At the end of this article you would find some great cover letter examples, cleverly written to catch the recruiter’s attention. 

I’m a recruiter and I receive a hundred job applications a day. Once I open the email, the first thing I want to read is the purpose of the email. I want to know if it’s a job application. If yes, for which position. And most importantly I need a good reason to download the resume attachment. 

If you ever sent me an email or a job application, and if I did not check your resume or did not reply to your job application letter. Trust me I did not find it worth downloading your resume. 

If you do not know what a sales pitch is, look at your cover letter. Now imagine, would you buy something uninteresting? Or if someone tried to pitch you a product in a poor way. Would you buy it?. 

The answer is no. If your resume is a film, your cover letter is a film trailer. Let me tell you something, It is the second most important document after your resume. Even before you start writing your resume, start working on your cover letter. 

If you are a potential job applicant, It’s your first chance to impress the hiring manager, it’s your first attempt to explain your candidature, the position you are applying for and why you are the most suitable candidate for the job.

A cover letter allows you to express your interest in the company, talk about the extra skills that you haven’t mentioned in the interview and have an opportunity to connect with the hiring manager. You can talk about a specific skill that you have and also is a key requirement for the job. 

You can also use this opportunity to talk about your past achievements, learnings, and experiences. You can also talk about your future plans and convince the hiring manager of your potential. 

 By writing an effective cover letter you are allowing yourself an opportunity to showcase how you can bring the change and why you should be considered for the role. 

We feel writing a cover letter for a job is more of a science than art, a little mix of this, a little of that and you have a perfect cover letter.

I would say a well-written cover letter is a secret weapon. A weapon that can put you in a winning position. Also, I would never recommend those resume builder sites to make your cover letter. Put yourself in the recruiter’s position and imagine, he/she has already seen tons of those cover letter templates. 

Would you choose someone with copied content? I would not. 

Though, You can always refer to a sample cover letter for your resume. You must write your cover letter in your own words. Do not just go ahead and download a cover letter template from a free resume maker website or those fill-in-blank cover letter kinds of portals. 

We have a few sample cover letters for you to check out. Go through them and you’ll get a fair idea of how to write an effective cover letter for a resume. 

And if you are still not confident in writing a cover letter, don’t worry we have got you. Our expert resume writers will write a perfect cover letter for your resume. A cover letter that will get you 60% more interviews. A cover letter that will get you hired. Do check out our professional resume cover letter sample for more information. 

Aside from creating a job-winning resume or curriculum vitae (CV), you must invest time in a nice cover letter, after all, your cover letter is the most important job searching tool. 

Your cover letter is your wingman. It introduces you to potential employers and allows you the opportunity to draw the hiring manager’s attention to the most notable skills and experiences. 

A cover letter if done right, can cut a long queue short. move your job application to the highest of the lot. 

Now if you know how important writing a cover letter is, it’s time to write a cover letter for your job application or I must say your resume. Please take your time, understand the process, learn the secrets of a professional cover letter and resume and make it count. There are a few trade secrets that we would like to share with you. Our resume writers carry over a decade of experience in writing professional resumes, cover letters, professional LinkedIn profiles, hiring and interviewing job seekers for various roles for multinationals and fortune five hundred companies. The do’s and don’t we are going to share with you can help you write a perfect cover letter for your resume. Use our step-by-step guide on writing a cover letter to lay down the foundation of your job search. 

We have listed out some of the cover letter secrets that nobody will tell you. Use them wisely and make your cover letter and resume stand out. 

Ready to learn the secrets and nail that job interview? Here are seven secrets of a professional cover letter for a resume that will get you an interview call in no time. 

How to write a professional cover letter for your resume?

1. Find the name: I get a lot of emails with generic terms like “Dear Sir/Madam” and  I hate it. And at times, I find myself in cc mentioned along with other 100 emails. I hate it. Trust me I do not entertain such emails. 

A word of advice for you, never address a cover letter to a generic being, If you do not have the name, find it. Period. 

I get it, sometimes it’s not easy to find the name of the hiring manager. But trust me all it takes is a call to the board line and ask the name or email ID of the hiring manager.  Make that call. It’s worth it. And also you may try some other ways like Linkedin, google search, reference, etc. addressing the cover letter/ email to a specific person allows you to connect with him/her. It’s more professional. 

2. Don’t waste time, get to the point: Hiring managers are busy. You must learn to value their time. Do not write a 2000 words article. Let the reader know why you are writing, talk about how you can help, keep the context on the topic and you are done. 

Do provide the reference of the ad for the position, or you have a personal reference, mention that. The first paragraph of your resume cover letter must convince the reader to read further. If you fail to do so, do not expect a reply from them. 

“Or as they say, keep it simple silly, I’d say keep it simple and straight silly.” 

3. Make sense, don’t show off: you know, personally, we all hate show-offs. If you believe you are the fittest applicant for the role. Prove it with numbers, data, and references. It’s not like telling your girlfriend I can get the moon for you. The best way of wooing a hiring manager is by demonstrating your preparedness. Show them that you have done your homework. 

Even before you start writing your cover letter, start with researching the company, and find the pain areas. Analyze and come up with a solution.  Go through the recent changes, mergers, acquisitions, news, etc. put that data into your cover letter and match it with your skills and expertise. Tell them how they can be of great help. 

4. Match the steps: if you are responding to a job advertisement, you probably have a job description with you. Craft your resume and cover letter in line with the requirement. Offer what the company is looking out for. 

Read the job description multiple times to understand the requirement, research your job role, research about the company and then when you have enough points, you may start writing the cover letter. Again, focus on your skills and expertise that can solve the problem. 

Also, the companies are more interested in someone who can start immediately with minimum training. So if you think you need some training before you can start, believe me, you will be their last preference. 

5. Be realistic: Are you one of those who claim to be the reincarnation of Alexander the Great. It takes a minute to find out the truth behind your tall claims. I have seen a lot of job seekers make this mistake. Claim only if you have evidence to back up. Do not go just bragging about something you have not done. Do not underestimate the recruiters or hiring managers. They are there for a reason. Be it your interview or your cover letter for your resume, talk about realistic figures. 

You may include one or two of your accomplishments in the second or third part of your cover letter. Back it up with a detailed story and how you achieved it. And don’t forget to connect it with the requirements of the company. 

6. Ask for a date: the whole point of writing a letter is a “call of action” either you ask the reader for a reply or you promise them to follow up within the next few days. Asking only for a reply won’t cut the job for you. A successful job hunt demands follow-ups. If you’d ask me, I prefer people who follow up over those who don’t. 

If you are applying for a sales job, and you don’t follow up, What kind of salesperson you are. A follow-up email gives you an opportunity to show how professional you are. It also shows how serious you are about the opportunity. 

7. Read it one more time: you did your research, you wrote a very compelling cover letter and you are all set to press the send button. But wait! Read it one more time. 

What? You have already read it 100 times, read it again. It’s always better to go through the document one more time. Check for typos, spelling errors. Grammatical mistakes or tone of the letter. If you think it’s perfect. Give it a friend, a relative, someone who has a better understanding. Sometimes we fail to see what others can. They offer a fresh perspective, a new angle. 

And then when everything seems to be fine. Shoot it. 

Are you a beginner with zero work experience or a senior management professional with decades of work experience, we all make some mistakes while writing a cover letter. 

Here are a few do’s and don’t before your start writing your covering letter. 

Do:

  • Address the letter to the right person (include their title)
  • Check the tone of the letter, it must be polite
  • Explain (with real numbers) specifically how you can benefit the company and role
  • Talk about skills and information that is not there on the resume 
  • provide references
  • Limit your paragraphs to three or four sentences each
  • Include call to action
  • Sign your name
  • Have someone else check your cover letter before sending it

Don’t:

  • Do not send it, if you do not have the contact name
  • Do not make false claims
  • Do not place your needs over those of the organization. You wont get a call back
  • Do not make demands.
  • Be too general or vague.

Elements of an effective cover letter for resume

Your Street Address (or Post office box number)

City, State, and Zip Code

The date

(Enough spaces to center the letter on the page)

Name of contact person (including Mr. or Ms.)

His or her title

Name of the company

Street address

City, state, and zip code

The opening or the first paragraph of your cover letter should explain which position you are applying for and how you came to know about it. Next, you should mention why you are interested in the position. Next, if you were referred by an individual, you should include that person’s name.

The second paragraph is where you try to match the requirements with your skills and back it up with relevant information or your accomplishments, experience and courses if any. By the end of the para, you should be able to convince the hiring manager that you are the best candidate for the advertised position. 

The final paragraph is where you show gratitude towards the hiring manager for his/her time. And ask for a schedule for a short call or a meeting to discuss your candidature. Also, you may include your availability for an interview. Also, reiterate your interest in the position and you will follow up in the next few days. 

Sincerely,

(Your signature)

Your name typed

Enclosures (ex. Resume enclosed or Resume attached)

Harry

An avid reader who loves reading sci-fi and modern mysteries. Partake in endless conversations, and find new friends along the way. I have 13+ years of experience working in industries ranging from tech start-ups to HR bigshots. I have found that nothing satisfies me more than meeting new people, developing new relations, gaining and sharing knowledge, solving problems, and contributing to the overall growth of the business.

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