Few organizations carry out recruitment by simply viewing the candidate’s resume. In most cases, the selection of candidates based on the resumes sent to them is only one of the steps taken to weed out applicants. Good jobs attract dozens of applicants and it is very difficult to stand out in this stream. Those who want to present themselves in a special way also include a cover letter and are more likely to get an invitation for an interview.
A cover letter sent to an employer is a letter revealing the goals and intentions of a potential employee. The main task of writing an application letter is to convince the management of a company or an enterprise to schedule an interview with you. In addition to meeting the higher business standards that the applicant will demonstrate by supplying his/her resume with a cover letter, it will help to achieve several more important goals:
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- Demonstrate your writing skills: the strict structure of the resume makes it impossible to shine with the construction of beautiful sentences.
- Emphasize motivation: this is especially important for people changing their field of work or having relatively little experience in the chosen field.
- Highlight your strengths, especially advantageous for this company: in the resume, this information is presented along with all your skills and abilities and not as visible. Doing so, you will bring out the specific experience and skills that the employer is looking for.
- A possibility of a personal contact with the employer and a chance to point out advantages of working with you. The resume is standard and can be sent to any company in almost unchanged form, while the application letter will show interest in this particular position.
- Demonstrate that you are fascinated by the company, searched for information about it, and the data turned out to be attractive to you. Customizing the cover letter for each job you’re applying for will increase your chance of getting the job.
- The short length of the letter will allow the employer to quickly get an idea of you as a valuable employee.
Creating a cover letter Although there are several application letter formats, from a simple cover letter to ones constructed for a specific job or to be included in an email, in a letter sent to an employer, you need to disclose these four topics:
- Specifying the position you are applying for.
- Description of experience in this area (devote to this 3-4 sentences).
- A summary of the benefits of working with you.
- Your motivation for working for this particular employer.
The listed topics should occupy no more than half a page. This will allow the employer to quickly get an idea about you as a future employee. Usually, the application letter is sent at the same time as the resume, which is why it is often referred to the cover letter. In this case, it is necessary to observe some generally accepted formal moments:
- when sending in printed form, the cover letter must be on a separate sheet (letterhead);
- when sending in electronic form, the resume is an attached file, and the application letter is written in the body of the email; in the email subject line write "Resume for the job title". To further grab the attention, add info like your name or even change it to a catchy subject such as “Marketing Expert with 10 years of experience Seeking New Opportunity”.
- Standard phrases cross out the very idea of a cover letter to provide more information and interest the reader. If a recruiter, reading it, thinks that you are copying your letter for applying to all sorts of jobs, then the purpose of the letter is not achieved.
- Duplication of resume. It is not necessary to retell the same information several times just in other words. HR managers are busy people who value their time and cannot tolerate repetitive data. The exception is the contact information - it does not hurt to write it again.
- Going beyond business style. Creativity, of course, is beautiful, but not in business correspondence. Humor is also irrelevant if it does not match the corporate culture of the employing company. Familiarity and informal references can also do the author a disservice. Avoid slang, as well as redundant punctuation (such as exclamation mark), emoticons, etc.
- Common words. Try to abandon such convenient, but meaningless expressions like “I am a qualified specialist”, “responsible”, “multitasking”, “motivated”, etc. All statements must be proved by concrete data, evidence, arguments, for example: instead “I am an experienced specialist”, write “I have been working in this field for more than 5 years”.
- Spelling and punctuation errors. Inappropriate for an employee in important positions. Grammatical mistakes quickly and effectively turn away the employer.
- Unprofessional email address. If you are sending your cover letter and resume by email, then make sure to use an email that does not say firstname.lastname@example.org. This might imply that you are not a serious candidate.
We hope that this information will help you succeed in your job search in the USA. If you struggle writing a professional cover letter or do not want to risk your chance of getting a position you have been dreaming about, turn for professional help. Experienced writer can assist in writing a cover letter from scratch or perfect what you have already written.