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A cover letter is your introduction to the employer; so preparing a good cover letter for your job is one of the most important career move. Used for formally submitting a resume for employer’s review, the cover letter is intended to “apply for” or “seek out” a particular position in a company. If your aim is to find a job, your cover letter is a formal presentation to the company to express this intent, as well as the platform to present your unique USP.

In the words of A. Harrison Barnes, the CEO of Employment Crossing, it is important to present yourself in the right light and an appropriate cover letter will do just that. No matter what results your job search turns up, the purpose of your cover letter is to present the most relevant skills and abilities; it aims to grab the attention of the employer. Your cover letter is a chance to market yourself to the hiring manager and persuade the reader to go through your résumé to grant a job interview.

Things to Include

One of the first things to consider in your cover letter is who to address the letter to. Every employer must be sent an original letter; not a mass mailer. Since the cover letter is an effective tool to promote your job search, Employment Crossing is one site that can help you in your efforts. A. Harrison Barnes advises using simple sentence structure and uncomplicated language that is easy to comprehend. Do away with redundant words and phrases by following a journalistic approach.

The cover letter should be unique and must specifically answer your career needs; only then will it act as your career builder. In case you need help in phrasing the letter, A. Harrison Barnes directs you to many online resources such as cover letter samples available. If you are replying to an advertisement, take care to address the job specifications. Remember, the cover letter should be brief; the ideal length should be less than a page, with each paragraph having a maximum of 3 sentences.

Let the employer know how you can benefit the organization with your services. This is more important says A. Harrison Barnes than wasting the reader’s time with trite and traditional phrases. Quantify and give examples in subsequent paragraphs to clarify the claims you are making. Use your USP confidently in answering the all-important question: why should the employer hire you? Further, always use action verbs in your cover letter.

Things to Exclude

A. Harrison Barnes of Employment Crossing explains some aspects that must not be done in order that a cover letter effectively achieves its purpose.

  • Do not start the cover letter with a salutation that contains gender bias (like sir, gentlemen etc).
  • The introductory paragraph should not be a boring one as its purpose is to grab the reader’s attention.
  • The first paragraph should contain the reasons why you are qualified for the job. Clichés like “Enclosed, please find my résumé” or “My résumé enclosed herewith” are unnecessary because the employer knows what they are supposed to do. Get rid of wordy phrases and idioms.
  • Do not take follow up action for granted; request for action on the part of the employer such as asking for scheduling an interview. Let them know when to follow it up as well. In fact, the chances of getting the interview calls will be greatly enhanced if you can call the employer after posting the cover letter. Don’t sit back, waiting for the call to come in. Also make sure your contact information is available in the cover letter.
  • Do not sent a cover letter that has misspelled words, typographic errors, greases, smudges, grammatical mistakes and punctuation errors. Also keep your language positive.
  • Never create a cover letter that is simply a rewording of the resume.
  • Sign the cover letter personally unless you are emailing it.
  • And never forget to enclose the resume with your cover letter.

Advantages of the Right Cover Letter

Keep the cover letter brief and simple. This is one crucial bit of career advice that A. Harrison Barnes of Employment Crossing gives all job search enthusiasts. As the hiring manager has to review numerous resumes, candidates are short listed based on the cover letter. The ideal cover letter, according to A. Harrison Barnes, should be 3 to 4 paragraphs in length; more than that is a waste of the reader’s time. Sending a well written cover letter attracts the employer’s attention, and this is why you should make the impression everlasting by giving it your best shot.

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