The Importance Of Writing A Cover Letter
Oxford defines a cover letter as a letter sent with and explaining the contents of, another document or parcel of goods. When sending in job applications, attaching a cover letter is an added bonus. Why?
While your CV or resume provides a list of information that serves as proof that you reached the basic requirements for the job, a cover letter brings your skills and accomplishments to the forefront. It is your Why I should be Chosen pitch, your personal brand advertisement. See it as an arrow pointing you out in a sea of applicants and giving you an edge. It tells the reader that you are really interested in the position and have the qualities to match. It is also a virtual one-on-one introduction with your prospective employer. Therefore, the importance of the cover letter cannot be overstated.
To make sure your cover letter is eye-catching, here are three things to have in mind.
- Be Brief: A cover letter should be only one-paged, so be brief and concise. A lengthy letter will likely put the reader off.
- Be Formal: Your letter should be organized and presented in a professional format. Use proper titles to address the intended reader. Do not use aesthetic fonts. Use simple fonts like Arial, Calibri, or Times New Roman. This makes your work easy to read. You could ask a friend to help you proofread to ensure that all I’s are dotted and all ts are crossed.
- Sell Yourself: Sound confident. If you were referred by someone for the role, mention the person. It is not a guarantee that you will automatically be given the position, but it is an endorsement. If you found the job opening on the company’s website or came across it on social media, you can add that too. It says something about your go-getter attitude. Communicate to the hiring manager why you should be given a chance. Remember that your letter is also a Get to Know Me (and the things I have achieved) pitch. If the job is entry-level and you have not worked in the industry you are applying for, mention volunteering opportunities, internships, freelance jobs, education, or online classes that you have taken to equip yourself with the skills needed for the job.
The recruiter wants to know you as a person as if you were sitting for an interview. However, say only the right things related to the job. Do not give unsolicited and unnecessary personal information like your height or skin color. If your cover letter represents you well, then the hiring agent would want to look at your CV and further schedule an interview.
Speak about your interpersonal skills. Talk about personality traits the company needs that you have. To make this easier, go through the job requirements and description and pick out the needed characteristics that apply to you. When writing about your achievements, refer to awards, commendations from clients, employers, or colleagues. Write like you are standing in front of the reader and selling your brand.
Now you know what to consider before writing a cover letter, the next step should be penning it. The cover letter is not so different from other types of formal letters. It carries the writer’s contact information which includes full name, contact address, phone number, email address, and date.
Next is the name and title of the hiring manager. In most cases, job applicants do not have access to this. Consequently, ‘Hiring Manager’ would suffice. Follow up with the company name and address. Then salutation, brief introduction stating why you are writing, the body of the letter, closing, and your signature. There are many template formats on the internet that could guide you. Make proper research. Ask people who have successfully written a cover letter for help. Remember that templates and samples are not meant to be copied word for word. While it is unprofessional, it limits your chances of presenting yourself in the best way possible.
Chioma Olaitan Hassan
75 Moonlight Avenue, Aba
24th April 2021
Grace Media Company
31b Gatu Express Way, Ikeja
Dear Hiring Manager,
I would like to apply for the role of Associate Writer in your company. I was referred by Mr. John Ume of the Marketing department in your company. After reviewing your job description, it is clear that you are looking for a candidate that is extremely familiar with the responsibilities associated with the role and can perform them confidently. Given these requirements, I am certain that I have the necessary skills to successfully do the job adeptly and perform above expectations.
I am an experienced writer with a proven record of 10 years in fiction and non-fiction. My skills have led me to excel in scriptwriting, ghostwriting, manuscript redrafting and proofreading, and magazine content creation. I am a focused professional who has been consistently praised as proactive by my co-workers and management. Over the course of my career, I have developed a skill set directly relevant to the role you are hiring for, including digital and language skills. Overall, I have consistently demonstrated creative thinking and communication abilities in every aspect of my current associate writer role at Bookish Media and Publishing.
The following achievements demonstrate my qualifications for the role of Associate Writer:
- As an associate writer with Bookish Media Publishing, I was able to contribute an article for the documentary Life magazine which won multiple awards in 2015.
- In 2020, I was awarded ‘Best Scriptwriter’ at the African Movie Awards for my work on the TV adapted series, Zungu.
I invite you to review my detailed achievements in my attached CV. I hope you will agree that I am the type of competent and competitive candidate you are looking for. Should you have any additional questions, please contact me. I look forward to elaborating on how my specific skills and abilities will benefit your organization in an interview.
Thank you for your consideration, and I look forward to hearing from you soon.
Chioma Olaitan Hassan
You have learned about the significance of the cover letter. This article also went further to give dos and don’ts that will help you in crafting an excellent letter. We hope you will be attaching a cover letter the next time you send in an application.