Job market gurus say a cover letter is, in fact, more important than your resume. While your resume is a static one that does not change much while applying to very different companies, a cover letter lets you say something tailored to the position you are applying for.

We learn from the HR departments of some major enterprises that more than half of the job applications include just the resume and not a cover letter or anything custom. In cases where there is a cover letter, it has a form that is copied from some other application. Hence it goes without saying that a well-drafted cover letter is a sure way to distinguish your candidature from the others reaching their mailbox.

Two ways to send a cover letter

Make a custom cover letter in a word processor and convert it to a PDF format while sending it to the hiring manager. If the decision makers have a chance to see your application, a PDF format will work best. Ensure your name on the cover letter matches perfectly well with the name on the resume. A custom message that addresses the hiring team will help you distinguish your application from those of most other candidates applied for the job.

What will make your covering letter stand out from the crowd?

The subject of the letter must be the company/position and not you

Every employer is keen to know what you can give them. Hence talk about how you can contribute to the company rather than saying what they can do for you. Though you can say something about how excited you are about the position, you can devote a significant portion to discuss how you will prove to be an asset to the organization. Never forget to mention that you are passionate about what the company is into. In every way, remember they are not there trying to help you out by giving you a job. Instead, they are interested in utilizing your services for the betterment of the company.

Focus on the credentials that the company is looking for

You might have a lot of skills and accomplishments. Remember not every experience is going to be relevant to every position you will apply for. It is essential to know what to mention and what to leave out. In this way, your cover letter must be completely customized to the position you are applying for. In the job description published by the employers, you will find a checklist of things what you are looking for. Tick as many of these checkboxes as possible. Wherever possible in the cover letter, repeat some words found in the job description so that the employer can find it easy to ascertain the suitability of your candidature for the given position. This will maximize your chances of not being turned down. Also, once you find out the list of things what the company looks for in you, supplement those items highlighting some specific examples of why or how you have them. Remember, making the employer focus on why you are a perfect match for the job is the whole purpose of the cover letter.

Focus on your skills

Most resumes are structured based on the jobs the candidates held so far. Nevertheless, it is good to make your cover letter skill-based. Make use of the cover letter as an opportunity to talk of 2 to 4 of your abilities relevant to the position you are applying for. Preferably it is good to structure each paragraph around one of the skills you have picked up to highlight. In two to three sentences, explain how your experiences can ably showcase them. Ensure there is no repetition as it can waste the time of the employer.

Be ‘to the point.’

Like your resume, your cover letter must also perfectly tuned to talking about your achievements. Facts, figures, and numbers are highly advisable. Describe how much money you raised, how many people you coordinated with, and how impressive your achievements are. Most importantly, if you feel the numbers you can give might not impress the employer, it is prudential to leave the figures out.  

Personalize the cover letter

The cover letter must help talk about your personality. Though it is essential to keep the cover letter as professional as possible in every way, including some personalized elements that will catch the eye of the employer. Craft an engaging letter with a color that will catch the eye of the employer. This can make the hiring authorities think you can be a fun person to work with. It will also help distinguish your letter from the rest of the lot they would have received. Personalizing the message in some ways can help the employer focus on why you are more suitable for the position than anyone else applied for the job.

Get an intro

Find out if you have some connections on the social media with someone who right now works at the company. If you can make an existing employee give a direct intro to the hiring manager about you, you can have pretty good chances of being called for the interview. This can also help overtake several other candidates lined up for the position. A solid cover letter along with an intro from someone the company can value can give a winning edge to your resume.