Many job seekers tend to consider the cover letter inferior to the resume, thus committing one of the worst mistakes in job-hunting. Perhaps this is because some people do not mind how a gift is wrapped but what is inside the package. But you know what they say about first impressions, right? Irrespective of what you believe, your prospect of landing an interview or a job ends where this letter ends.
However, attaching this document will not by itself convince the reader to look at the resume you have attached if the former does not adhere to certain essentials. Writing a good cover letter demands that you ask yourself the following questions:
1. Does it sound like a sales letter?
Suppose you are writing a sales pitch for a product, how would you frame it? What information would it contain? Now consider yourself the product you are selling to a prospective employer. Does your message carry the essence and import necessary for such a letter? Remember your ability to persuade a prospective employer to invite you for an interview lies in this document. Think about its content and style critically before writing it.
2. Will the reader be attracted to your letter?
Writing a cover letter involves packaging a precious object. The receiver may reject or accept your present depending on the appearance of the package. Judging from its appearance, can the reader of your text give it priority over the rest? One method of ensuring your document is attractive is to organize it logically. Moreover, use the inbuilt capabilities of your word processor to make the margins and spaces adequate enough for easy navigation and readability.
3. Are the language and content persuasive enough?
The language of a cover letter is crucial in determining whether your document will be read or ignored. Writing it is not merely about using the acceptable form of English, but how you express yourself and the content you are offering since this will influence the decision of the reader to shortlist you for an interview. Borrow a leaf from a love letter, if you know how to write one.
4. Have you focused on the skills that your prospective employer is looking for?
Every advertisement for a vacancy indicates the type of skills expected from the successful candidate and your success depends on matching your content to this requirement. Knowing how to write a cover letter entails informing the employer how exactly you fit into the picture. What academic, training, skills and experiences do you have that match the description of the successful candidate? Your resume may contain many skills, but in this text you only list what is relevant to the job you are applying for.
5. What value will you bring to the organization, if employed?
A cover entails a careful balancing act because you are expected to blow your own trumpet but also inform the reader what value you will bring to the firm. The focus here shifts to the organization instead of the individual, but within the same letter. Considering you are one of the many that will apply for a particular vacancy, pay close attention to this section when writing a cover letter.
6. Have you proofread your cover letter?
Among the most vexing and demoralizing aspects of this crucial document are spelling and grammatical mistakes. It speaks volume about your level of carelessness if you submit a one-page letter full of typos and glaring spelling errors. To many prospective employers, this is an unforgivable mistake. Do whatever is possible, including asking for help from a more language-proficient person, to make sure your letter is error-free.
Whenever you sit to craft a cover letter, remember you are engaging in business communication with a product to sell to a customer. In this case, you are the seller; the prospective buyer is the reader. Your skills and competencies are the product, while your letter is the advertisement. Learn how to write a convincing and presentable letter if you want the reader to look at your resume and shortlist you for an interview.