Covering Letter

Getting your Cover Letter Right!

A good beginning is half the battle won. This is true more so when you are applying for a job. Since the employer has absolutely no idea about who you are or what your capabilities are, you have to catch and hold his attention throughout the job process in order to secure a post. And it starts with the Cover letter.

A cover letter is sent by a job seeker along with a CV or a Resume. It introduces the applicant to the potential employer and explains in short detail why the person is suitable for the job. The employers for their part may use this cover letter for the purpose of screening and short listing the candidates and as such you have to take the first opportunity to impress the recruiters and roll with it.

The basic format of the cover letter

  • First and foremost, a letterhead: It should list your full name, address, telephone/mobile number, and email id. All the information should be correct and up-to-date so that the employer may easily contact you. After the letterhead, leave a line so that the letter looks tidy and organized rather than sloppy and squashed.

  • Next, Recipient’s details and date: It should contain the name and address of the recipient. That can be written first or last, it doesn’t matter.

  • Salutation: It is best if you know or find out the name of the person who will be handling all the recruitments so that you can address the letter to him/her. Refer to the recipient by his/her proper title (Mr., Mrs., Ms., Dr., etc). In case you don’t the name of the person, address the letter “To Whom It May Concern:” or write “Dear Sir or Madam”.

  • The introductory paragraph: State the purpose of your application along with the post for which you are applying or the one in which you are interested. Make it short and to the point but also in a way that you are earnest about the job and motivated to work hard. Try not to begin with the obvious “I am writing..” Hundreds of other applicant might use the same phrase. Try something creative so that your letter may stand out.

  • Middle paragraph: This is the part where you display your marketability. You highlight your qualification as well as the skills that make you suitable for the job that you are applying for. Point out what you can do for the company/organization and not what they can do for you.If the recruiters are looking for specific qualifications, mention how you fulfill it. You can also briefly mention any work experience relevant to the job. In short, you need to sell your skills and advertise why you are the best candidate for the job.

  • Concluding paragraph: The last paragraph should be 2-4 lines. Direct them to your CV/Resume, specify that you’re available for an interview and thank the recruiter for his/her time and consideration.Be clear about what you’d like to happen next but conclude the letter in a way that it leaves a favorable impression with the employers.

  • Closing and signing off: Write “Sincerely”, “Respectfully” or “Regards” and then put your signature below it.

These are a just a few sample jobs that are waiting for you out there. You can create new jobs if you are able to analyze the market properly. You just have to keep in mind what the public wants and work your way around it. So if you are unable to get a job because of recession, or if you want to have your own business, explore the market and then set up your profession. Don’t be afraid to try out new ideas as you never know when the tides will decide to turn in your favor. And apart from that, Self-employment will bring out the best in you, help you build confidence.

Some General Advice

  • Check your spellings, grammars and punctuations: : This happens to be one the most common and offensive mistakes. Bad grammar and misspelt words would lead your CV and your chances to the trashcan. Since you are trying to portray yourself through your cover letter and your CV, you have to be smart, confident and capable and that means absolute perfection.

  • Personalized cover letters: It may be possible that you may be applying to 10 jobs at a time. But sending out the same cover letter is a definite no-no. Each organization has its own specific requirements and you need to highlight that in your cover letter. Research the organization before you send out your cover letter. Make sure that you get the name of the recruiter so that you can address the letter to him/her. It gives it a more personalized feeling.

  • Writing style: You use your cover letter to show your suitability for the job. But it is important that you maintain a modest attitude and not brag about your achievements. Maintain a formal, polite and yet warm tone in your application.

  • Keep it short: keep your sentences short and your matter brief as you don’t want your employer to be bored. The letter should be one side of A$.

  • Layouts and fonts: First impression is always of the sight and hence you have to focus on getting the look of your letter right. The fonts should be consistent and legible so that it gives your letter a professional and neat look. If you’re in designing stream, you can experiment with the layout to show your creativity.

  • Use points that are not so common: You need to stand out (in a good way, of course) from rest of the candidates.

Before you start

Writing a cover letter is a piece of cake if you take care of all the important points. However, before you begin there are some questions that you must find an answer to so that you can include it in your cover letter.

  • Name of the company/organization to which you are applying.

  • Name and address of the person to whom you are addressing the cover letter.

  • The title and type of job for which you are applying.

  • Your current job or educational position so that you can explain your present status.

  • The qualities that are required for the job and where do you fit in. You have to make yourself marketable and so you need to know how you can contribute to the job. It is like marketing strategy where you have to know what is going to sell.

A good cover letter makes the much needed impact on the employer’s mind and makes them notice you. If you manage to convey your suitability and your uniqueness, you will be hearing from the employer soon enough!

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