One question that comes up regularly is if the cover letter is still relevant.
To that I answer yes, still today, as it allows you to project a good impression from the start.
Personally, when a cover letter accompanies the Curriculum Vitae, I take the time to read it and forward it to the employer if necessary, recommending that they read it.
However, certain rules apply to get the most out of this job search tool.
This week I would like to offer you some helpful tips that will help you in writing an effective cover letter.
Why a cover letter?
In my article on Writing an Effective Resume, I recommended making a resume for each job opportunity applied for to personalize each application as much as possible, especially with regards to skills and accomplishments.
In practice, the same CV can be sent for similar positions, with minor changes.
In order to demonstrate to the potential employer your genuine interest in the opportunity offered, the cover letter allows you to demonstrate that you have researched, invested time, and not just sent your application in series.
The letter is intended as a positioning of your application, making the link between your CV (skills and experience) and the job applied for. It highlights why your application stands out and, conversely, what the company can bring to your development.
Do you want to change your career or domain? This is where the letter becomes important because it highlights and makes sense of your CV which, without the letter, might appear not to align with the job posting.
The cover letter is not a CV
This job search tool is intended to be your introduction to the CV, not a repetition of the CV itself.
It should be short and concise – 3 to 4 short paragraphs, no more than one page – and could be summed up as follows:
– Header with information about the employer (Name, contact person if known, and address)
– Subject indicating the job offer number (if applicable) and the job name
– Short introduction of one to two sentences, including reference to the job applied for and the source, as well as your interest and reference to the accompanying CV
– The employer: your understanding of the purpose of the job (one or two sentences) and of the company itself (see the next section for more details)
– You: The advantage that your application would bring to the employer
– Keen interest in a potential phone call or interview, and customary greetings
Interest in the company
The secret to customization lies mainly in this section and only requires a few minutes of research. The job posting is one source, and the company’s website will provide several other details. News, publications, and social networks are just as many sources that can inspire you.
Highlight the main points such as the need raised by this position, the company culture, the vision, the objectives, the positioning in their sector of activity. In short, elements on which you can support and how you can help them.
Employer + You = Success!
Why you more than any other candidate?
Explain, in 2-3 sentences, why your profile fits with what they are looking for, naming the key skills, knowledge and education that you consider relevant to the position and the posting. While maintaining a certain humility, being too persistent could have the opposite effect.
In the context of a career change, this section is crucial and should already describe what you can do in this role, in concrete terms. By having clearly identified the employer’s needs and reality, you will be able to be even more specific at this stage.
Careful writing for increased efficiency
To maximize the impact of your cover letter, here are some additional helpful tips:
- Neat text – Use an automatic corrector or ask someone to proofread it
- Make sure the right company and contact person are named in the letter
- Be careful with copy and paste – You want the elements related to the position to be described, and that the correct names appear
- Be yourself, without leaning towards too much originality
There are several steps to finding a job, and each of them can make a difference in how you stand out from the competition.
The cover letter is no exception.
What impression do you want to project when you submit your application?
Would you like to discuss your job search to help you achieve your professional goals?
Write to us at email@example.com or directly at my address: firstname.lastname@example.org and we will be happy to discuss and support you through the various stages.
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