Cover Letters; a Summary of What to Include

The two most significant types of cover letter are called the ‘application cover letter’ and the ‘prospecting cover letter’. The ‘application cover letter’ is exactly that, an application to an already advertised position, whilst the prospecting cover letter refers to a letter written on your own initiative to a series of companies enquiring about available positions. The former is subsequently a lot more specific than the latter, but both should include high levels of relevant detail.

A successful cover letter of any type should always ensure that it contains specific information relating to both the career and the employer. Non-specific letters will often be ignored by the company because they come across as mass-produced and show little effort on the part of the applicant. It’s worth remembering that a cover letter works alongside a resume or CV, with its primary focus being an extension of information directly related to the position or company applied for.

A well-written cover letter should also display your key interests and any knowledge you have about the career and employer. Prior research about the company shows the prospective employer that you are genuinely interested in their corporation, and additionally expands on particular abilities and traits which are suitable for the job. Ultimately, the cover letter should intend to set you clearly above the competition.

Certain ideas should be kept in the mind when writing your cover letter and they are as follows;

Why you are writing; it’s important that the first paragraph explains the reason why you are writing this cover letter. Obviously this depends mainly on what type of cover letter it is, so you should explain whether this is a reply to an advertisement or if it is on your own initiative. In order to be specific, include accurate details about the location and date of the advert and your reasons for applying to them directly. Display keenness for the position and a sincere interest in the company.

What you can offer; the second paragraph allows for the opportunity to elaborate on areas of your resume or CV with relevant detail. Selling yourself should be high on your mind, and use positive language to detail your skills and traits. Attempt to show that you are not only a great team player, but someone also capable of leadership. It is also your chance to demonstrate that you have researched the company and job type, which sells your positive attitude.

How you can be contacted; the final paragraph’s intention is to make it very clear how you can be reached, and must provide key information. Phone numbers are included with the statement that this is how you can be reached for a telephone interview, and both email and postal addresses are necessities. You can either be passive and supply the information politely, or play a more active role and state that you will contact them to arrange a telephone interview. Although clearly more pushy, the initiative aspect can charm potential employers. The choice of approach would naturally depend on the company and you personal judgement.

Cover letters, although largely overlooked, constitute a vital part of the initial stage of the application process. It’s best to remember that a CV or resume without a cover letter can never succeed in selling all your skills to the employer, which should always be your primary motivation.

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