Ask a writer what’s the most challenging part about writing a book, and they’ll say writing the synopsis. Similarly, job seekers find that creating a solid cover letter to go along with their resume is more complex than writing the actual resume itself.
That is because, just like a novel’s synopsis, a cover letter needs to highlight and elaborate the vital points in your resume. However, highlighting the essential parts does not mean merely copying and repeating them from your resume.
Therefore, as a job seeker in 2021, you need to learn how to write a cover letter perfect for your resume. Let’s look at how you can accomplish that.
Writing Your Cover Letter
A cover letter is meant to expand on the information already mentioned in the resume, as we discussed above. That means the cover letter is where you add details in your resume, such as the reason for a gap in your employment history.
A few critical pieces of information are required from your resume to ensure that your cover letter complements it perfectly. Let’s find out what they are.
#1. A Professional Summary
If any, the summary of your professional career is the most critical part of your cover letter. Suppose your resume states that you have worked for five years at a company as an executive. Your cover letter needs to elaborate on that to explain your duties and responsibilities in that role.
Moreover, you can also explain how your same previous experience can benefit the company you are applying for. That will help the recruiter judge relevant experience and increase your chances of getting the job.
#2. Relevant Professional Skills
While you might have several skills listed on your resume, your cover letter needs to showcase just the ones critical to the job you’re applying for. On average, you should mention a maximum of 3-4 skills on your cover letter to show the recruiter that you are a perfect fit for the company.
Suppose the company’s ad mentions that candidates should be hardworking, detail-oriented, and able to multitask. As a job seeker, these three should be the skills that you showcase on your cover letter ideally. Also, using bullet points instead of a paragraph would have a better impact on the recruiter and the company.
Moreover, doing so will also help you pass any applicant tracking systems that the company may have deployed to filter out less qualified candidates.
#3. Your Professional Experience
Your resume would, by default, list your roles, responsibilities, and experience for each job you’ve held so far. On the other hand, your cover letter needs only to list those relevant to the job you’re applying for.
However, the trick is to figure out how to portray that relevant information without making it look like a repetition of your resume?
A great way to do that is to add any letters of recommendation or awards you receive that enhance the validity of your professional experiences. Every employer wants an exemplary candidate to work for them, which will help you boost the chances of getting selected.
The Do’s and Don’ts of Writing a Cover Letter
Now that you know the structure of a cover letter, the do’s and don’ts listed below will ensure that it hits the mark and gets you selected for the job by creating the perfect cover letter and resume.
It can be effortless to fill up your cover letter with all of your past internships and achievements, which can sometimes cause an issue with the chronological approach of a cover letter. It is especially true for new or less experienced job seekers looking to pad their resumes to make them look more substantial.
According to several hiring and recruiting experts, a cover letter should not tell the same story as your resume. Instead, it should highlight the required talents and skills and expand on the crucial points relevant to the job you are applying for.
Therefore, instead of just describing your career over the years, focusing on a few key events will help you look like the ideal candidate to the recruiter.
Portray Yourself Effectively
Unlike a resume, a cover letter is a more personal document. It needs to embody and portray your personality as well as your professional details. A resume, however, needs to be professional and to the point.
That is why a strong resume requires an attractive cover letter to let the recruiters know you professionally and personally. For example, recruiting experts suggest that a job seeker might add a little humor to their cover letter. Or they might share a positive personal interaction with the company they’re applying to and make their cover letter stand out.
To summarize, it’s a cover letter’s job to portray your human side or your warmth. That tells the company that you are the kind of person they would love to add to their team. A resume, on the other hand, should be all business and to the point.
Try to Relate to Your Company
Hiring and recruiting personnel love when job applicants create a cover letter personalized for their company. It makes your generic resume turn into a personal application. That shows the company that the candidate is genuinely interested in the job and has done their homework.
To create such a cover letter, you need to add why you would be the best candidate for the job you are applying for at that particular company. You need to show your passion for working at that company, which would elevate your application over many other candidates. To embody that passion within your cover letter, you can answer a few questions designed for the purpose.
- Why did you apply to this company in particular? What attracted you to them in the first place?
- What are your views about the company’s work? Have you identified an area where you could be of use?
- What are your thoughts about the company’s approach and methodologies? Do you think they need improvement?
Address Any Issues That Require Elaborating
Does your resume have an employment gap? Did you switch your career suddenly? Do you have an unfinished degree or one that took too long to complete? If you answered yes to any of these questions, your cover letter needs to address these issues in detail.
Employers need to know why a person changed their career so drastically. Was it you? Or were there any extenuating circumstances that required you to make that switch? Similarly, if the job you’re applying for is in another city and requires you to move, your cover letter is the best place to address it.
For such scenarios, it is recommended that you mention the fact that you plan to move close to the job you’ve applied for in an upfront manner. It shows the company that you’re ready to sacrifice and commit to them, making it likelier that you’ll be hired.
Be Mindful of the Cover Letter’s Design
While the content and structure are essential in a cover letter, visual design is also vital to its success. However, your resume and cover letter should look similar in terms of visuals, making it easy to associate the two documents.
After the page design, the first thing to note is the header of your resume and cover letter. Your cover letter should have a similar header as your resume. Similarly, you can add a tagline or quote at the top of both your documents. Not only does that make it more attractive, but it also helps your resume and cover letter be more memorable.
Moreover, the consistency and conformity to a single design make you come across as a true professional who can follow a set of rules and guidelines, which increases your worth as a potential employee.
Structuring your Cover Letter
A good cover letter usually follows the following structure.
- The introduction is the first paragraph of your document. It should mention who you are and the job you’re applying for at the company. Moreover, it needs to discuss why you are interested in that job and the company precisely.
- Your next section consists of 2-3 paragraphs within the body. This section usually discusses your professional and personal experiences and skills, which would make you the perfect fit for the position you’re applying for.
- The last paragraph is your closing. Thank the recruiter for considering you, and summarize why you’ll be perfect for the job. Also, mention that you would love to talk over an interview, and enclose your contact details.
Creating a solid cover letter requires that you write and structure your content well. Moreover, it should look similar to your resume in terms of design and should highlight just a few key elements required for the job you’re applying for.
A cover letter can enhance the impact of your resume and takes minimal effort. If you follow the guidelines mentioned above, you will create a great cover letter to impress those hiring you.
About the Author!
Amtul Rafay is a content marketer at renowned content writing agency – eContentSol. She loves to explore futuristic trends in the tech industry while believing in the influential power of research-backed opinions. Being passionate about blogging, she writes on a variety of topics including digital marketing, graphic designing, branding, and social media. Besides that, she is also fond of traveling & an avid reader by heart.