cover letter

How to write a cover letter; do’s and don’ts, points to include

Nancy Jaiswal
Nancy Jaiswal
Posted on 13 Sep 2022
11:48 AM
While a standard resume only points out your skills, your cover letter can draw attention to the relevant skills

While a standard resume only points out your skills, your cover letter can draw attention to the relevant skills Source: Shutterstock

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Summary
A cover letter is a document that is needed to be sent with your CV to provide additional information about your area of expertise
Your cover letter is the first impression you put forward

What is a cover letter

A cover letter is an important document and one that more and more recruiting managers are asking for nowadays. You must be knowing about CVs and resumes. But what exactly is a covering letter?

Where required, a covering letter accompanies a CV. Where a CV outlines what you have studied, where you have worked and what the nature of your work was, a covering letter provides additional information about your area of expertise, skills and experience, especially what is relevant to the vacant post you are applying for.

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So, when you sit down to write a cover letter, here are some points to remember:

Do’s and Don'ts of writing a Covering Letter

Do’s

-Address and explain the skills and experience listed on your resume. While a standard resume only points out your skills, your cover letter can draw attention to the relevant skills needed for the role and explain how you will use those skills.

-Use relevant keywords. Companies that receive a large number of applications often put the resumes and cover letters they receive through special software that searches for keywords. Your cover letter should also feature the right keywords so that you are shortlisted.

-Focus on your soft skills. As a fresher, you should use this opportunity to outline how the soft skills you have are relevant to the job you are applying for. Experienced personnel should also do the same.

-Explain why you are the right fit. Consider this your chance to make a case for yourself. You can speak about your interests, extracurricular activities or achievements that may not be professional, but align with the job role.

-Explain a gap in your work/education history. In case you have a gap in your education or if you took a year off from work for any reason, this is your chance to explain the same.

-Speak about changing industries. In case you are applying for a job that is different from the roles you have held so far, or you are changing industries, your resume will not be able to demonstrate any relevant experience. The cover letter can then come to your rescue as you can highlight the skills you have used at the other jobs and explain how they would be useful for the position you are applying for.

As a fresher, you should send a cover letter to outline how the soft skills you have are relevant to the job you are applying for

As a fresher, you should send a cover letter to outline how the soft skills you have are relevant to the job you are applying for Source: Shutterstock

Don’ts

-Send before editing. Your cover letter is the first impression you put forward. Make sure it is thoroughly spellchecked and proofread before sending it to the company. Resumes and covering letters with spelling or grammatical errors are often rejected outright.

-Repeat what’s in your CV. Use your cover letter to add more value to your application by including details that your resume doesn't show. This will remove the element of repetition and also further strengthen your position as an applicant.

-Write in colloquial language. In the corporate world, recruiters don't have time to read very detailed CVs and cover letters. To attract and hold your hiring manager’s attention, your cover letter should be no more than 3 or 4 short paragraphs. More importantly, keep your language short and direct to have an upper edge when weighed against other candidates.

-Use the same cover letter for all your applications. Cover letters should always be written in keeping with a specific job profile. Ensure you put in the time to research the company and the job profile and show your understanding of it in the cover letter.

And finally…

Some Points to include:

Some of the most important points to include in a cover letter are:

  • Your name and contact details
  • Recruiter or hiring manager’s name and designation (if these are not available, address the letter to ‘The Hiring Manager’)
  • The skills and experience you offer
  • Mention the details you know about the company linking it with your goals and ambitions
  • Mention what makes you an ideal candidate for the job
  • Your most recet educational qualification
  • An impressive ending with a call to action mentioning how and when you are available for an interview
  • Your complete name

First impressions make the biggest difference. A concise and informative cover letter is your first chance to stand out as an ideal candidate in the tight packed competitive field. It is also a good way to demonstrate how the combination of your skills and experience meet the requirements of the job vacancy. Ready to start typing now?

Last updated on 13 Sep 2022
11:48 AM
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