When it comes to applying for jobs, you want to make sure that your resume stands out from the rest, and a great cover letter is one way to get yourself noticed and land that dream job. Read on to find out what a cover letter is, why it’s so important for job hunting success and what you should include in your cover letter to secure that all-important interview.
What is a cover letter and why is it important?
A cover letter is a supportive document that you can send to an employer or recruiter together with your CV. A cover letter should be written specifically for the particular role you’re applying for and is an added opportunity for you to show exactly why you’re such a great candidate for the job.
The average corporate job opening in the US receives around 250 applications. With this level of competition, a cover letter can be key in helping your resume stand out from the crowd. A cover letter is also useful because it allows you to showcase your personality and get across your passion for the role.
A 2020 survey by ResumeGo found that of 236 hiring professionals, 81% said they valued a tailored cover letter and more than half (65%) said that cover letters influenced their decision on who to interview and hire.
What to include in your cover letter
Now you know how important cover letters are but what should you actually include in one? Here are some tips on how to create a great cover letter.
A strong start
Be sure to address the letter to the recruiter personally, ideally greeting them by name. You should let them know which role you are applying for and how you found out about it.
Your cover letter needs to include a short, convincing description of why you are a suitable candidate, discussing your relevant skills and experience. Discuss your current or previous job as well as any other relevant experiences such as hobbies or volunteering. For example, if you’re applying for a software engineer role, your hobby creating open source software could be very relevant.
What can you offer?
It may sound strange, given that a cover letter is written by you and about you but don’t make it all about you! You should be clear about what you could do for the company you are applying for, as ultimately, they’re looking to hire someone who has something to offer.
Don’t be tempted to send out a generic cover letter to lots of different employers. 78% of recruiters say they can easily tell when a cover letter is generic. This means they’ll probably be able to tell right away if you haven’t taken the time to tailor the letter to the role or their company and ultimately, this can put recruiters off hiring you.