Five Rules of Writing an Effective Cover Letter

by Karen Watson on June 4, 2014

A cover letter is by far the most important personal branding tool which introduces you to the hiring authority. It is an opportunity to make your case for an interview by exhibiting what you have and what you can do. You need to take utmost care in crafting it in a tremendously powerful, effective, and impressive manner and to do this, the following points need to be kept in mind.

THE INTRODUCTION

The first impression leaves a lasting impression on the mind. Given this, a dynamic opening paragraph is vital in capturing and retaining the reader’s interest. It needs to be remembered that your opening lines and the introductory paragraph must powerfully outline who you are and what you have to offer. The person reading your cover letter probably knows nothing about you and you need to provide some background about yourself in order to ease into the substantive part of the letter. It should briefly, factually, and concisely introduce you and summarize the top skills and experience that you can bring into your job. This section holds the biggest responsibility in compelling the reader to read on, go through your resume, and then call you for an interview. Written well, it will entice the reader to want to know more about you and aid you in positioning yourself prior to being selected for an interview.

FOCUS ON SKILLS AND ACCOMPLISHMENTS

Why should ‘you’ be called for an interview? To be selected for the interview stage, it is of prime importance to showcase your accomplishments and to starkly distinguish yourself from other applicants. At the primary stage of screening through cover letters and resumes, recruiters essentially try to determine who they would like to interview. This is when your cover letter will stand out, if it has your skills and accomplishments strategically placed. Use the best possible technique and support your assertions about yourself by giving concrete examples.
Key points to remember while working on this section are as follows:
– Mention select achievements that can be linked to the job you are applying for.
-Do not repeat information that is provided in the resume. Discuss your accomplishments by adding subjectivity to your credentials.
-Include examples that demonstrate initiative, enthusiasm, and quantified results.
-Do not give away too much. It is very essential to keep certain accomplishments to be discussed at the interview.
-You could choose to highlight your achievements as bulleted points to capture the reader’s interest immediately and draw his or attention to the most important part of your cover – the section which talks about that you can do for the company.

WRITE ABOUT WHAT YOU HAVE TO OFFER

One of the biggest mistakes you could make while writing a cover letter is to write about ‘your’ expectations, ‘your’ needs, and what ‘you’ want from the job you are applying for. It is absolutely necessary that you maintain a future-oriented pattern where you refer to your qualifications and credentials in a manner that relate to what you have to offer in the position being applied for. The words used to craft a cover letter should be such that it reflects your understanding of the employer’s needs. Research about the company and the opening is necessary in assisting you to address this need and by doing this, you can demonstrate to the employer that you not only understand but are the best fit for the requirement. The best approach could be to address each specific qualification and state the related experience and skills you possess to perform the task. You need to draw on your resume for your expertise matching the role and make it clear what you have to offer that would benefit the company.

LENGTH

Recruiters have limited time and you need to do your best to capture and maintain the attention of the reader. Your cover letter needs to be short and to the point. It should neither be too long nor too short (about 3 to 4 paragraphs of varying lengths is appropriate). Read it several times and let others read it to understand the effectiveness of the length written by you. Make sure you don’t bore the reader with too much content or leave the reader totally confused with so little information. Balance the length and keep it crisp and interesting.

APPEARANCE

The design that you adopt to write a cover letter should be professional and visually appealing. A lot is said about the manner in which you draft your cover letter. It reflects the type of person you are and plays an important role in catching the reader’s eyes. The format used in your cover letter should match the one in the resume. A good font should be used, the font size readable, and the overall look should be aesthetically pleasing and consistent.

Since a cover letter is usually read before a resume, it holds a crucial part in providing the reader just enough glimpses into your job profile and your ability to contribute in the growth of the company or organization you are applying for. You need to make sure that yours is nothing but the perfect.

Five Rules of Writing an Effective Cover Letter by

Previous post:

Next post: