The Essentials of a Cover Letter and Why You Need One
Cover letters have become an integral component of a job application. Gone are the days when many applicants could get away without adding a cover letter to a resume in response to a job application. Nowadays, cover letters are listed as part of the job application process, as many organisations require that applicants attach cover letters to their application to be considered. Therefore, it is non-negotiable for an applicant wishing to stand out from the crowd to write and attach an engaging, and convincing cover letter.
Asides from the fact that cover letters are mostly required by organisations, it also gives the applicant the chance to tell a story of how they are unique from the others. Thus, it is recommended that applicants willing to market themselves submit a cover letter alongside their resume even if the company did not request for it. This would inform the company that such an applicant is willing to take an extra step to improve the quality of your application and stand out from the crowd.
Generally, a cover letter is a brief note written to introduce yourself. It is usually sent alongside your CV. A cover letter should be concise, compelling, and complement your CV, not repeat it. In addition, consider using document-checking tools like Grammarly to check for spelling and grammatical errors. Before writing a cover letter, it is important to research the company. This helps you to understand the job description, company’s values, and goals and how these align with your credentials and expectations.
While there has been debate over the inclusions of a cover letter, this article provides guidance on some important elements to include in a cover letter. A cover letter should be clear, concise, and coherent and should contain relevant sections as shown below:
The first paragraph is where you tell the recruitment team who you are, the job for which you are applying, and how you discovered the job posting. This makes things easier for the team as there may be other positions available and they may not have time to check every letter for each job position. Also, be sure to state the reason why you are applying for the role.
How you fit the role
This is an essential part of the cover letter, where you talk about your background, how the skills you have garnered from your previous work experiences or other activities align with the requirements of the job you are applying to. It is important to give specific examples of your achievements rather than using vague words or clichés. For example, instead of stating you are a team leader, be explicit about the results and value you added while in this position.
Proposed contributions to the organisation
The recruiting team will be interested in knowing how you would contribute significantly to their organisation. Use this section to discuss how you would add value to the role and the organization as a whole.
Summary and Closing
Remember to summarise your skills in a short sentence to serve as a reminder that you are a perfect fit for the job. Make sure you talk about any attachments or other required materials you would like the recruitment team to peruse. Say something that will entice them to contact you. Finally, thank them for their time and consideration.
Remember to include keywords in your cover letter, as most companies employ an Applicant Tracking System (ATS), a software that handles recruitment electronically by scanning for keywords in the job description. You want to ensure the ATS system has more than enough keywords to pass you onto the next level in the recruitment process.