Most of us will have at some time, written a cover letter to accompany a CV when applying for a job but unlike the CV, that letter may not be used again for a different job, not in its entirety at least. As it is often long periods between having to apply for jobs, although the CV may just need updating, we may have to review how to write a cover letter in order to make sure that we get it right. At these times, what many people may not realize is that just as there are websites that can give assistance in creating CVs, there are also websites that can assist in the writing of a cover letter. If you were to visit one of these websites, they would tell you that 5 things have to be included in the cover letter; a greeting, the context, information, verification and lastly a call to action.
Although the greeting could start with ’to whom it may concern’ it would be far more impressive if you could find out the name of the hiring manager and address it to them personally, by their name. This will display to them that you have already taken an active interest in the company and who works there. By the context, it is meant the reason why you are applying and how you found out that someone was needed. The information you should include in the letter is something about either the position which is vacant or the company that is hiring but if both could be included, once again, it would be more impressive. Although the person doing the hiring will expect you to be able to meet the qualifications requested, it does not hurt to point out specifics from the CV which are relevant to the job you are seeking. This does not however mean that you should repeat the information on the CV as the letter should be short but just a mention that you have a degree and 5 years’ experience is good and they can turn to the CV for more detailed information such as when you received the degree and where you gained your experience. By a call to action it doesn’t mean anything physical but just a more positive and robust approach as to what you are expecting from them. For example, instead of finishing with ‘I hope to hear from you’ you could finish with ‘I look forward to an interview’.
The cover letter could be considered the most important part of your application as it is the only part that will certainly be read. If there are a lot of applicants, the weeding out may start as early as from the reading of the cover letters and then continue on to weeding more out after having read the CVS, leaving only a few that have to be interviewed. It is therefore not only worth writing a good cover letter but it is also worth the time to get it read over by someone else before submitting it.