The article was titled initially as “How to write a cover letter for a vacancy and still not to tie oneself into knots, curse recruiters, and unwish to keep applying?” But the editor banned it as too longish.
A cover letter is one of the most discussed and treasured job-related topics. Authors of webinars and articles on job search constantly remind that sending a resume is not enough. Is it true or not? We try to find the answer for Talantly.com blog together with a business trainer and a career consultant Ivanna Tabachuk.
Is it necessary to have experience in writing cover letters? Depends on the type of company. “Outsourcing companies often present a developer after the preliminary interview. We know how to sell a candidate to the customer, ” Ivanna reveals details of the process. But a product company is likely to expect some short self-description from you. Of course, this makes sense, only if you are submitting a resume, and not being hunted.
How to craft an effective cover letter?
Rule #1: Tailoring.
Your response should indicate that you’ve read the job posting. If possible, use the expressions that you’ll find in the job description. “Better to add nothing at all than to copy-paste the same cliches everywhere,” the consultant emphasizes.
Rule #2: Uniformity.
If the positions description is in English, use the same language in your cover letter.
Rule #3: Value.
A cover letter is also called “a motivation letter”. Accordingly, these 1-2 paragraphs of the text should reveal the cause of your interest.
The layout or how to get it right:
- Without gobbledegook;
- Without long introductions and elaborate self-presentations;
- Focus on why you are qualified for the position;
- Use short and simple sentences to make the text more readable.
Anti cover letter: to send a recruiter kind of guidance when to contact you and how to treat.
Cover letter structure
Not to curse anything and everything, as well as the idea of job applying, write your cover letter according to the plan:
- Subject line. Position+company. Sometimes one person manages hiring at several companies. Therefore, it doesn’t hurt to remind where exactly you are applying for.
- Introduction. It should be like a flash of the camera: to strike blind the reader, to make them smile and, of course, to read further. This is how you make your first impression. If you have no ideas or are afraid to over-egg the pudding, just use polite wording: welcome the recruiter and introduce yourself briefly.
- Motivational part. Why do you need a company? Why the company needs you?
- Reasoning (the final). When answered: “Why should we hire you?”.
And one more thing. In fact, there is no single layout for a cover letter that is universally recognised. This gives you much room for experiments.
Usually, a cover letter alongside with the resume is submitted through the job site where the vacancy was published. Sometimes, the number of characters there is limited: it is estimated that 200-400 characters are enough to present a candidate. “Stick to the point and send your resume,” they seem to hint us.
What if you want to say more?
“I came across resumes with a short cover letter on the first page,” shares experience Ivanna Tabachuk. Of course, such a document needs to be adapted for each and every application. On the other hand, it is convenient if the job site allows only one attachment.
The infographic visualisation will for sure be remembered. Though preparing it is a really time-consuming process that can take several days. So, keep in mind that a cover letter can replace a resume in rare cases only. So the game might be not worth the candle.
Decided? Then thematically divide the information into blocks: strengths, skills, experience. From the very beginning, use visual editors (for example, Piktochart, Canva or Visme): they will allow you to estimate how many characters will fit into the block.
Must-have or nice-to-have
Career experts claim the cover letter to be overestimated. If you are an experienced candidate with an impressive track record, you will be invited to an interview anyway. And yet, there are specialities who must present themselves before the first face-to-face meeting.
In which cases should you sit down, do finger stretching, and create a little self-promotion?
- When you apply for a junior position or internship. “The market-specifics is that juniors are over the odds now. And it is worth writing a thoughtful cover letter because it can help you stand out of the pack,” points out the consultant.
- It’s considered a good practice to have a cover letter for a marketing specialist. This is a kind of test: how good you are at creating a “cover” for yourself.
- When the position looks juicy you’ll have to face competition. The one who will best explain why to hire them, will win.
- If you met in person before the application (for example, at a conference). Then it will be appropriate to recall where and with whom you communicated.
According to personal statics, 7 out of 10 RMs that are actively involved in hiring, read cover letters. Reason: pre-evaluate the soft skills of a potential colleague and figure out whether they will comply with the team.
Do without further ado
When can you NOT write a cover letter for a job?
- When a recruiter tries to hunt you and has already sent tempting job description.
- If you are reapplying.
- If you are a true professional your repository speaks louder than any words.
- If you use Talantly.
In other cases, tell persuasively why the company should hire you, it will not hurt, anyway.
The basic rules for cover letters are the same everywhere, regardless of whether you are applying for a job on hh or LinkedIn.
By the way, if you have an example of a successful appeal – share it in the comments. Colleagues will appreciate!