What Is a Cover Letter? Tips to Make Your Resume Stand Out
What is a cover letter, and can you use it to your advantage? Today, we’re bringing you all the information you need on cover letters and how to write them and make your application stand out!
The COVID-19 pandemic left many people in need of a job. So, now more than ever, it’s crucial to learn the best ways to demonstrate your skills and show potential employers why you’re the perfect choice for the position you’re applying for.
What Is the Purpose of a Cover Letter?
A cover letter is a summary of your CV where you can showcase your skills and how you plan to utilize them in the role you’re applying for. In addition, this is where you’ll introduce yourself and say more about your interests. It’s also where you can show how your work history ties together with the duties of the role you want.
1. How to Start a Cover Letter
Before you start writing your cover letter, it would be wise to go through a few steps to make your cover letter more professional.
- The first part of your cover letter should include your name, address, and contact information. It’s best to include your email address, phone number, and the link to your LinkedIn profile if you have one. Even though every cover letter definition states that the body of the letter is the most important, highlighting your name will help them remember you.
- Then, state the name and address of the company you’re applying for. This information should be aligned at the top left corner. Meanwhile, at the top right corner, you can write the date you’ll be sending your application.
- You can then start with a greeting. If you know the name of the hiring manager or recruiter, you should put their name. Otherwise, generic greetings will do.
2. How to Write a Cover Letter
Cover letters allow you to present yourself to potential employers in any way you deem appropriate. There are no specific rules you’ll have to follow, and you can see many different examples of them online. However, if you aren’t sure what to include in your cover letter, you can follow the following simple steps:
- State your personal information. Include your reasons for applying for the position and a sentence or two about the organization you’re applying to. In the application letter, you can also include a few words on where you found the posting.
- In the next paragraphs, you can write more about what makes you a good candidate for the job. Just make sure to include only relevant information to what your potential employer is looking for.
- In the last paragraph, you should reiterate why you would be suitable for the job and point the reader to your CV, which includes complete information about you.
3. How Long Should a Cover Letter Be?
Ideally, a cover letter shouldn’t be longer than a page. Most hiring managers will only skim through a cover letter to decide whether an applicant can proceed to the next step or not, so one page is enough.
You should check specific directions in the job posting. Employers might specify a word limit for cover letters or provide questions that you have to answer. Following their instructions will make a good first impression.
If there are no specifications, 250 to 400 words are the proper length, and it shouldn’t be divided into more than four paragraphs.
4. What Does a Cover Letter Look Like?
A cover letter is a simple Word or PDF document that contains your reasons for applying for a position and an explanation of how you meet the job requirements. It should be kept simple, but you can be a little artistic with your cover letter if you’re applying for a creative position.
Also, keep in mind this standard format for cover letters:
- Your name and contact information
- The hiring manager’s information
- An opening paragraph that states your top achievements
- Body of the letter
- Closing paragraph
5. What Is a Cover Letter for a Job?
As we already mentioned, the main purpose of a cover letter is to briefly introduce yourself and your interest and show why you’re perfect for the role you’re applying for. In addition, your cover letter should showcase your interest in working with the company and what you know about it. So, before you write your cover letter, do some research first.
6. What Is the Difference Between a Cover Letter and a Resume?
A resume is a brief list of all your qualifications in the form of skills, educational background, and work history. Furthermore, it should include your contact information and anything else that’s relevant to your job application. For instance, you could list courses you completed or certificates you obtained.
On the other hand, a cover letter is a comprehensive summary of who you are and why you’re the perfect candidate. It’s where you can show your personality and give your potential employer a chance to learn more about you.
When it comes to formatting, a cover letter is written in paragraph form, while a resume primarily includes headings and bullet points.
7. What Is a Cover Letter for an Internship?
The purpose of a cover letter is the same no matter what position you’re applying for. In most cases, cover letters for internships will be shorter than those by experienced workers since you won’t have much work experience.
However, an internship cover letter will usually include information about scholarly activities, skills, and any volunteer programs you participated in. This will help show potential employers that you will be a great addition to their team even though you lack work experience.
8. What Is an Enclosure in a Cover Letter?
A cover letter enclosure is a document that goes with your cover letter to prove your skills and work experience—anything relevant to your application.
If you want to impress a hiring manager, you can add an enclosure. It could be an award you received, skill endorsements, or university course transcripts. The most common is a recommendation letter from your previous company, which can be written by your supervisor, the head of the department you worked in, or the company’s HR personnel. Relevant writing and research samples can also be a cover letter enclosure.
9. Is a Cover Letter Necessary?
Experts advise everybody applying for any position to attach a cover letter in their application, whether the employer requires it or not. Cover letters provide a great way of introducing yourself to hiring managers and potential employers, helping your resume stand out.
As long as your cover letter is well-written and doesn’t have spelling or grammar mistakes, it will help you in your application. If a cover letter is required in the job posting, submitting one shows that you pay attention to the details. If not, it shows your willingness to go the extra mile.
Writing a Cover Letter: Final Thoughts
While a cover letter isn’t always necessary when applying for a job, it can help you stand out from other candidates. That’s why it’s important to learn how to use it to your advantage.
Hopefully, answering the frequently asked questions on this topic has helped you understand the basics. Now, you’re ready to write a cover letter that will show you in a good light. Happy job hunting!