What is the purpose of a cover letter? A cover letter is a career marketing document that enables job-seekers to highlight their prominent career achievements and qualifications, creates an interest for the hiring manager to call for a one-on-one interview, and helps candidates explain gaps in employment.
A cover letter typically accompanies your resume as part of your job application. It further allows you to explain why you are the perfect fit for the available vacancy, what value you can add to the company, and how your expertise aligns with the position’s responsibilities. In a nutshell, cover letters help the hiring managers and recruiters better evaluate your career profile against a position.
Various studies have revealed that most hiring managers make up their minds about a candidate after reviewing the cover letter. Some employers may make the cover letter an essential part of the job application, rejecting any submitted application without a cover letter.
What is the purpose of a cover letter?
A cover letter is a single-page A4 document aiming to address the hiring manager or the interviewer and includes your contact details, career aspirations, and professional expertise. Cover letters should also highlight why you are interested in the role you are applying for and establish a relationship between the position’s responsibilities and your skill-set to show why you are best suited for the position.
Objectives of a cover letter
Some key objectives of a cover letter are listed below;
- Gives you the chance to introduce yourself and let the hiring manager get an insight into who you are – an experienced process engineer, a highly motived sales professional, a website development expert, etc.
- Complement your resume rather than repeating the same content
- Invite the hiring manager to call you for a personalized interview.
- Grab the attention of the reader, so they become more interested in your professional profile.
- Explain how you can contribute to the growth of the company.
- Shed light on your most notable career achievements, skills, credentials, experiences, and qualifications and match them against the demands of the position.
Format of cover letter
Cover letters are a single-page A4 document that accompanies your resume but does not repeat the same information as provided in the resume. While a cover letter is primarily used to create interest in your skillset, expertise, and achievements, you need to make sure you use the correct cover letter format, including three sections; introduction, main body, and call to action.
Unlike a face-to-face meeting where you first formally introduce yourself, in a cover letter, you can start by briefly indicating the job announcement and explaining how you found out about the position. Next, explain your interest in the position, for example, “I am writing to express my interest in your internship program with your marketing company. I learned about your company through the student center at my university, and after researching your website, I have immersed myself in your groundbreaking work in the telecom industry.”
This is the section where you get the opportunity to highlight your academic and professional qualifications, skill-set, expertise, and suitability for the position. The main body can be two to three paragraphs long. To grab the hiring manager’s attention, make use of bullet points to highlight your important qualifications. For example, you can present key information as follows;
- Proficient user of Adobe Illustrator, Adobe Photoshop, Adobe Premiere Pro
- Proficiency in MS Excel and MS Word
- Reliable professional with a proven track record
- Excellent communication skills
Call to action
In the call to action section, you can entice the hiring manager or the prospective employer to contact you for a formal interview. For example, “I would like to meet with you to discuss internship opportunities you have available. Please let me know if you have any questions or would like to see any specific work samples. You can reach me by phone at 123-456-789 or email at [email protected].”
Cover letter template
You can find simple and attractive cover letter templates on Microsoft Word or Apple’s pages. Both tools provide several cover letter templates that have all the formatting already done for you. However, while you can use any of the Word or Apple templates, you can also format a cover letter from scratch by yourself.
Tips for writing a winning cover letter
Here are some tips for you to write an excellent cover letter that is sure to capture the interest of hiring managers and recruiters.
- Each cover letter you write should be unique and tailored to the requirements of the position or opportunity you are interested in. Make sure your cover letter addresses a specific individual when you know who the hiring manager is.
- Make sure you are using the right format when writing your cover letter. For example, your contact details at the top of the cover letter should match the contact details provided in the resume.
- Highlight your most notable career achievements so the hiring manager can figure out how you can add value to the company you intend to become a part of.
- Shed light on the relevant academic and professional qualifications.
- Explain to the readers why you are the perfect match for the position.
- Show that you have done your research about the company and the position you are applying for.
- Always choose a neat, clean, and simple template for your cover letters.
- Get your friends and family members to reread your cover letter to make sure it is 100% error-free. The last thing you want is to turn off the interview with silly grammatical and spelling mistakes.
- Keep reminding yourself why you are writing a cover letter and who you are writing it for.
- Don’t forget to request an interview call.
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