Effective cover letters can help you enhance your chances of landing a job interview. They let the employer get to know you better, making it easy for them to decide if you are a good fit for the position.
Yet most job seekers think it's a waste of time because they either don't know how to write one or are unaware of the purpose of a cover letter.
In this guide, we'll tell you everything you need to know about the purpose of a cover letter.
- What is the purpose of a cover letter?
- Why the format of Your cover letter is important?
- Tips to create a professional cover letter
- How cover letter can explain employment gaps?
- How to explain limited work experience in a cover letter?
What Is The Main Purpose of a Cover Letter?
Cover letters are a great way to highlight your accomplishments and tell potential employers why you're the best candidate for the job.
Cover letters can also show that you're a good fit for the company, especially if the job posting asks for someone with specific skills or qualifications.
Many recruiters also use cover letters to differentiate between candidates with similar skills.
Due to these reasons, it's best to include a cover letter along with your resume when you're applying for a job.
If you're still unsure whether to add a cover letter, surveys have shown that 45% of the candidates don't write a cover letter. So, if you write one, it will automatically make you stand out from other candidates.
Also Read: How to write a cover letter in 2022?
Why the Format of Your Cover Letter Is Important
When applying for jobs, you must do everything to set yourself apart from the rest of the applicants. A well-written cover letter is one way to do this.
Even if a hiring manager doesn't read your cover letter and just glances over it, they'll be able to gauge your written communication skills, attention to detail, and research skills.
Sending out a poorly formatted cover letter is like showing up in an interview in a dirty shirt. It gives a wrong first impression on the recruiters. On the other hand, a well-formatted cover letter makes a good first impression on the hiring manager and ensures that your application gets noticed.
Using a cover letter format is easy to get the design right. Pick a format from Hiration's Online Cover Letter Builder tool, fill in your personal information, and write the cover letter within 300 - 500 words. It saves you time and makes your cover letter professional.
Tips to Make Your Professional Cover Letter More Effective
Your cover letter is the first impression you make on a prospective employer. It's where you can showcase what you have to offer and why you're the best candidate for their job.
1. Research the Company and Showcase Your Skills
You don't need to know everything about a company. But when you write the cover letter, you should research the company and the position.
It shows that you've put effort into your application.
According to your research, you should write a cover letter to reflect your relevant skills.
If you're applying for a customer service job, it's a good idea to mention that you've worked in customer service before and can handle challenging situations.
If someone is hiring for a sales position, they might want to hear that you've worked in sales before and have experience closing deals.
2. Explain Why You’re Excited About the Job
Recruiters like hearing why a candidate is passionate about their job! This helps demonstrate that you're not just looking for a paycheck; you're interested in the work itself and are in for a long time.
For example, if you're applying for a job in sales, you can say that you are extrovert and passionate about talking to people.
3. Keep Your Cover Letter Short
A cover letter is a sales tool and should be written in a positive, professional tone.
It should highlight your skills, abilities, and experiences related to the job you are applying for. However, you should not make the cover letter long.
A good rule of thumb is to keep your cover letter to one page and within 500-600 words.
Since recruiters anyway don't have much time to see a resume, it's convenient for them to read through an on-point and practical short cover letter to understand your skills and achievements than a longer cover letter.
4. Address the Hiring Manager by Name
The hiring manager is the person who has the power to hire you.
So, it is essential for you to directly address the hiring manager by name when writing your cover letter.
It establishes a personal connection and shows that you've done your research.
If you don't find the hiring manager's name, you can also address the cover letter with "Dear Hiring Manager" as well.
5. Fill Your Cover Letter with Numbers
Did you know recruiters and hiring managers don't want to read generic boilerplate?
Instead, they want to see numbers in your cover letter. That's because numbers are proof of your experience.
If you list specific numbers (such as "Managed and trained 4 new sales associates and increased sales conversion by 20%"), then the recruiter knows exactly what kind of work experience you have and what skills it takes to do it well.
6. Explain Any Red-Flags in Your Work Experience
If there's anything on your resume that could prevent you from getting the job (such as a bad performance review or an employment gap), explain them in the cover letter as clearly as possible so that the hiring manager understands your perspective and judges your candidature based on that.
For example: "My past raises some questions about my work ethic, but my references say otherwise," or "I've been out of work for two years because I had to take care of my sick mother." Be honest, but don't put words in their mouths either.
How Cover Letter Can Explain Employment Gap
Your cover letter is a great place to explain any gaps in your employment. If you were laid off, quit your job to raise your children, take care of a family member, or simply get a higher education, your cover letter offers a great place to explain your situation.
That way, the recruiter can look at your cover letter to see if you've done something to improve your skills in the downtime. For example, if you took any courses, certifications, or went back to school to get a degree.
Keep it brief and to the point. Employers are more concerned with your skills and what you can bring to the table than with your employment gap.
How to explain Limited Work Experience with a Cover Letter?
You may have limited work experience, but it doesn't have to be a limiting factor in your job search. Your little work experience can be advantageous if you position it correctly in your cover letter.
Here are some tips on how to position a limited work experience:
1. Include Unpaid Experiences
Unpaid experiences also count in your skills. Doing volunteer work in your community shows that you have leadership skills, and it provides you with valuable skills.
The body of the cover letter is an excellent place to mention your volunteer work and showcase what you gained from the experience that could be of value to the company.
2. Give Statistics in Your Cover Letter
Don't worry about being specific about how much work you did on each project or volunteer activity; just mention how long you worked on each one and what skills were developed as a result of working on them (e.g., "I managed the inventory system for three months and ensured sufficient stocks").
3. Add Relevant Skills
Include any relevant skills you have acquired through volunteering or other activities, such as public speaking or marketing, that might help you find a job once the internship ends or when you return home. For example, mention it here if you've developed a particular skill, such as event planning or public speaking while working on an event committee at your university.
We hope you understand what is the importance of a cover letter from this blog.
A cover letter is an essential part of a job application, which gives you an extra edge in your job hunting process.
The recruiters may not read it, but it is still considered an applicant's best practice.
Here are some of the key takeaways from the topic:
- Research the company very well before writing a cover letter
- Address the cover letter to the hiring manager by name
- Showcase stats and numbers in your cover letter to showcase your accomplishments
- Explain employment gaps in the cover letter up-front
If you want to create a professional cover letter for yourself, use Hiration's Cover Letter Builder which will also help you write a compelling cover letter to get your dream job.
You can also send us your questions at firstname.lastname@example.org.