I get a lot of unsolicited CVs and Cover Letters with interesting titles like ‘I’m the man for the job’ ‘Application for any position’ You’re gonna love this’, ‘Please help me’ etc. Between you and I, only one out of twenty catch my attention.
A cover letter is a key document that should accompany your CV as often as is possible. Also known as a letter of introduction or application, your Cover Letter says ‘By way of introduction I’m so and so; and if you’re impressed enough, my CV is attached. It highlights aspects of your experience that are most useful to your potential employer and explains things that your CV may not be able to. It gives you the opportunity to create a lasting impression and shows how well you can express yourself in writing. It is a little window into your person.
More often than not, cover letters sent out fall into 3 categories, the invited, uninvited and referral.
The invited Cover Letter is usually in response to posted vacancy adverts. The uninvited letter is unsolicited and I consider it a proactive approach to job-hunting. The referral letter is a letter stating the name of someone the recruiter is familiar with as the source of information about a job opening.
All the rules of formal letter writing applies to Cover letters. Your ability to capture the attention of a recruiter will depend on how specific you can be. It must be addressed to a specific person, who can be found at a specific address. You have to specify what skills and competencies you possess and also specify what position or department you’ll like to work. ‘To whom it may concern’ doesn’t work in this case. ‘Please consider me for any available position’ is a total turn off. Be specific.
Keep your Cover Letter to a maximum of 3 paragraphs. The first one should state why you are writing. The second should clearly articulate what you have to offer. Finish it off with a meeting request or some specific follow up action.
The most important rule for Cover Letter crafting is to present yourself in terms of what you can do for the employer, always! Ensure it is free of typos and grammatical errors. Be honest, passionate and show enthusiasm. Everything else we can teach you, but we can’t teach you attitude. These days, we employ people for the right attitude first, and then their skills and everything else after that….
Enjoy your day.