A cover letter for a resume has been gaining popularity in recent years. And in 2020, it plays an almost decisive role in a job search. This is evidenced by statistics on the reviews of recruits who read resumes.
A correctly written CL improves your chances of getting an interview to be hired in the future.
So what is the “cover letter”? What’s the difference between a cover letter and an application letter? How to write a good cover letter? In this article, you will find answers to all these questions, plus examples, practical tips, and advice.
What is a Cover Letter?
Before writing a successful cover letter for a resume, the applicant should clearly understand what it is and its purpose.
A cover letter is an important job application document in the form of a short letter that provides additional, but not duplicated, information to the resume. It is a kind of ad designed to interest the HR manager in inviting you for an interview. Therefore, in the CL, it is essential from the first words to show interest in the company and position and a great desire to work with them.
Many people confuse the cover letter and the application letter.
The application letter usually consists of two or four paragraphs. The applicant indicates who they are and why they want to work in a particular company and points out a list of documents sent along with this application. While a cover letter is four or six paragraphs long, it can be up to 300 words (one standard page). The document includes your relevant skills, experience, and education that will benefit the organization.
Why Create a Cover Letter for a Resume?
The CL is a short text that a job candidate uses to draw attention to their job application. Therefore, the main goals of its compilation are:
- highlight your resume among others;
- express interest in getting a job with the company;
- briefly reflect information that will enable the recruit to preliminarily assess your suitability for the declared vacancy, talk about your professional achievements;
- fulfill the employer’s requirement to provide a cover letter (if required in the vacancy text).
The recruiter examines the CL, and preliminarily determines whether to open the resume, evaluating:
- how information is presented, the ability of the applicant to formulate clear and complete thoughts;
- how interested the applicant is in getting a job with the company;
- whether the requirement to provide a cover letter to the resume specified in the vacancy text has been fulfilled.
It is also worth noting that resumes with cover letters are always considered first, regardless of whether this document was indicated in the job description. The presence of a CL shows your strong interest in this position, which favorably distinguishes you from other candidates.
How to Write an Impressive Cover Letter for a Resume
Now that you know what a cover letter is and why it’s important let’s move on to writing one. Here are five steps for writing the perfect cover letter. You can choose one of the tips or all at once.
1. Cover Letter Structure
Let’s start with the most basic – the structure of the document. A cover letter consists of a block with your contact details, a greeting, an introductory paragraph, the main body, a finishing paragraph, and a closing.
- Block with contacts. Here you should indicate your name, phone number, email. You can add a home address if you want.
- Greeting. Many applicants make the same mistake here – they do not specify the recipient’s name. When you’re writing a cover letter, try to find the hiring manager’s name to personalize the letter. If the company has a standard email, it is clear to whom to forward it. If you could not find the hiring manager’s name, write the person’s position instead (i.e., Dear Hiring Manager).
- Introductory paragraph. In this part, you tell who you are and why you are interested in the open position.
- Main body. This part is composed of two to three paragraphs describing your skills and how you can apply them in the new position to benefit the company.
- Finishing paragraph. Even though this is the last paragraph, it is vital to make a call to action. For example, ask the recruiter to call for details or schedule an interview.
- Closing. Thank the hiring manager for their time and say goodbye.
2. Great formatting the CL
Formatting text should take as much time as writing because the first thing an HR manager sees is visual. It determines whether the person will want to read your letter or not.
- Font. The Times New Roman, Georgia, and Verdana are best for creating a cover letter.
- Text margins should be aligned on all sides.
- Paragraph. The text should be divided into semantic blocks. There must be a space between each section. This text arrangement allows the reader to navigate through the content quickly without stressing the eyes.
3. Use online builders
A simple but effective way to create a resume and cover letter for a job is to use specialized editors. Since you are applying for several vacancies, then cover letters should be written individually for each company while highlighting the critical aspects of your work activity and relevant experience required for the vacancies. And it takes a long time. To effectively manage your time, you can use specialized builders that will help you create an excellent cover letter, and if possible, also a resume.
Services like GetCoverLetter.com offer a wide variety of cover letter and resume templates. Making a cover letter becomes a quick and enjoyable process. You just need to answer the questions and choose the suggested options based on your specialization and skills. You will receive an amazing ready-made document in a few minutes that you can manually edit and personalize even more.
Besides, online builders offer various designs for job application documents. This will help decorate your documentation and make you stand out from the competition.
4. Using keywords from the job description
One of the best ways to get a recruiter interested in your candidacy to invite you for an interview is to use keywords from the job descriptions. When an employer publishes a job ad, they highlight the essential criteria that they need first. Using these keywords in your cover letter will present you as the person they are looking for. But don’t exaggerate or lie. After all, if you don’t have the right skills and knowledge, it will become evident in the interview.
5. Let other people rate your cover letter
When you finish writing your cover letter, do not rush to send it to employers right away. Let other people read it. A “fresh eye” can spot mistakes in words or point out inaccuracies in the text. Remember that the cover letter is the employer’s first impression of you, so mistakes are not allowed.
For the employer to pay attention to you, the cover letter must have a clear structure, but at the same time, it must not be formulaic. Don’t write “like everyone else.” Be inspired by examples of non-standard cover letters and reveal your personality.