When to Use a Cover Letter?

A good cover letter is like a good elevator pitch, just like this catchphrase

A cover letter is required at all times when one cannot submit their resume directly to the hiring manager. Which probably is almost every time.

When is a cover letter necessary?

A cover letter is essential if

  • You are required to by the job offer.
  • You are requested by your hiring manager.
  • You know applied directly and know the concerned person's name.
  • You are referred for your position by someone.

Apart from this, you may not require a cover letter if you apply online, many software systems would simply reject your cover letters.

According to numerous surveys, hiring managers are in favour of including cover letters. It gives them a fair idea about the candidate before they go through the resumes. It also gives them an idea that a particular mail is not spam and is not containing a virus.

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Do I need a cover letter?

You might think that writing a cover is counter productive to get you a job, that it has no use provided you have a stellar resume. Even though your job offer may mention that a cover letter is optional, you cannot treat it as optional if you treat your job as significant.

53% of the employers consider that a cover letter is important. Among job applicants only 47% write a cover letter. Get ahead of the league by enclosing a cover letter with your resume.

Your cover letter will be an essential tool for you to make a direct connection with your employer. You can explain your career gap or your reason behind changing careers.

How would a cover letter help me?

Apart from the convenience of your hiring manager, your resume will work for you in some of these ways-

  • It is an amazing opportunity to showcase your eagerness to join the organisation.
  • This is one opportunity you just can't let go. Cover Letter makes a connection with your manager by sharing personal and professional reasons to join the company. 

    Tell them how your student life depended on their stationary products, or how you empathize with the brand's policies. You can also mention your area of interest and preferred department.

  • The reason why you are a good fit for the company can only be mentioned in your cover letter. 
  • It is difficult to squeeze in this information in your resume, in this place a cover letter plays an important role, which basically matches your experiences to your job.

    In order to make your cover letter productive, you must research about the company. The hiring manager must know that you have researched well about the work culture of the company and why you are a good fit for the organisation.

A cover letter will

  • Introduce the applicant to the hiring manager, along with the person who has referred him/her to the position, if any.
  • Give a clear picture as to how the applicant will add value to the company.
  • Suggest as to how the applicant has solutions for the company.
  • Introduce the hiring manager to the applicant's skills and experience (for an experienced person) or his degree of education (for a fresher).
  • Contain the applicant's contact information.

A cover letter puts everything in neat paragraphs, what the hiring manager would look for in the resume and cover letter.

It's pretty simple to write a cover letter.

Here are some tips to get you started!

  • You must start by referring to the most recent job you hold in the first line.
  • In the next paragraph mention your skills, projects, achievements and endorsements. Write about yourself according to the needs of the company you are applying to.
  • Add paragraphs according to your requirements. If, in case you want to mention your career gap or the reason you wish to work for the particular brand.
  • Finally, add a new paragraph to summarise everything. In this paragraph explain how your experience is beneficial for the company.

Some tricks and hacks to try.

An obvious mention here is that while writing a cover letter, you must not repeat information already on your resume. You must make your cover letter interesting, give the reader a reason to read your cover letter and move forward to reading your resume.

The cover letter must be addressed to a specific person, years ago, the term "to whomsoever it may concern" was commonly taught in schools, while writing formal letters. It was because finding the name of the hiring manager in those times was quite a task, nowadays it is easy to find the name from Linkedin and Google profiles, you may also follow it up by a quick phone call.

Another tip is to make the cover letter "employer focused", a personal interview may be about who you are as a person, but the cover letter must always describe how you can add value to the company and how you are a good fit.

Let your actions do the talking, don't use overused lines to describe your qualifications. Instead jazz it up by mentioning your accomplishments. Show what you have achieved. Quantify your achievements by mentioning monetary or percentage figures or other numbers, like number of people served, number of lives saved, affected etc.

Your cover letter can also bring to you the opportunity to bring to your manager's attention your past relevant experience which may not find a place on your resume due to technical and/or space issues. 

You can also mention relevant training or certification which you have completed or on which you are currently working, on your cover letter which will always differentiate you from the rest of the candidates and may guarantee you an interview call.

Check out the video
Common Interview Q&A with Resume Building Tips with Ms. Vipra Babbar, Head HR (India) at Meero

Should I add a photograph?

Your photograph belongs neither to your cover letter nor to your resume, unless you are specifically required to do so by the company policies. However a good quality headshot photo with a clear background is required on your LinkedIn profile.

Take the alternate route!

Nowadays, companies use AI to reject candidates, it is one of the first screening methods to decrease the number of prospective candidates the hiring manager has to go through. Your resume, however deserving, may not make it to your manager's desk. 

If your company requires you to apply online, you must drop a hard copy of your resume either by mail or by personal means. If it is not possible, then you may also email a cover letter and resume along with a note to your hiring manager.

Written By :
Utkarsh Gupta
Career Expert at CV Owl

Your CV or resume is your first impression for any company. With the help of CV Owl, you can get a well-structured CV and your time will be saved. Everything on your CV should be written in a formal manner and in a precise way. You have only 20 seconds to impress your recruiter with your CV, make the best out of it. Visit our series “The HR Talk” where we help you know everything about your job interview from the recruiters.

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