What is a cover letter?
A cover letter is an enclosing letter attached along with job applications and addressed directly to hiring managers. It will include a brief introduction about your qualifications and various skills that you consider a close fit for the job position. It should extend to not more than 4 or 5 paragraphs and should describe how you are capable of contributing to the business.
Why should you include a cover letter?
A job application is never complete without a proper cover letter. You might have taken all the time to create a wonderful resume. But what if it comes across the hiring manager’s table as a bulk mail? He or she will take it as your disinterest in the particular job. Enclosing a cover letter with your application, whether or not it is required, is always a good habit. A hiring manager might get tens, or even hundreds of job application every day. It is only natural if they decide to ignore some of the applications on the whole, if they think it came as a group email or that the applicant has not taken the time or interest to understand the job posting.
Therefore, it is very important to include a cover letter as well along with your application. This can happen only if you can convince him/her that you have clear understanding of their requirement and the right potential for the job. Your cover letter should ideally ‘hook’ the recruiter to your application and subsequently lead him or her to your resume.
Cover letters in traditional applications
In early days, when people would apply to jobs via postal service and courier, the enclosing would include two documents, one a cover letter and other the CV. In such cases, when you’re applying to jobs by hand, the cover letter should begin with your name, full address and contact details along the left or right margin followed by the name and address of the employer or hiring manager on the left. This is followed by a reference line stating the purpose of your letter before you could start writing your letter.
Cover letters in electronic applications
Today, job applications are mostly sent as e-mails due to faster transmission and easy collection. When sending as email, it automatically includes your email address in the ‘From’ field and you are already providing a ‘To’ email address which will serve as the addressee detail. Hence you do not have to provide those details in the body of your email. Also, there is a ‘Subject’ line in an e-mail where you can provide your Reference statement. Therefore, only the remaining content will occupy the cover letter body in an electronic application.
Example of a good cover letter
Hence, a good cover letter should include:
- Your name, email address and phone number at the top of the page on the right
- The name of the business and the contact person’s full name on the left
- A reference line specifying which job position you’re applying to (e.g., “Re: Application for Front Desk Manager position”)
- An address to the reader directly if you know the person(e.g., “Dear Mr. John”) or a generic “Dear Sir”. Avoid using addresses like “To whom it may concern”.
- An opening statement that briefly introduces you, your work experience and academic qualifications to the reader
- A main body that highlights qualities and characteristics you have, that are relevant to the job
- A closing paragraph asking to arrange an interview
If you don’t have any formal work experience, you can mention in your cover letter other things like:
- General skills that help you work in a team and as part of an organization
- Personal attributes that will compliment your work requirements
- Key strengths and contributions that show you are a valuable applicant
- Any volunteer work or school experience that demonstrates your strengths and traits
- Any hobbies or interests that you feel are relevant to the job
A sample cover letter is given below for your reference
123 Main Street,
Mobile: XXX XXXX XXXX
Mr Allan Moyle,
Moyle Retail Solutions
RE: Application for Retail Sales Assistant position
Dear Mr. Moyle,
As a highly motivated and dedicated student with strong communication and interpersonal skills, I would like to apply for the position of Retail Sales Assistant.
As a student I have been extensively involved in my school community, including drama and sports carnivals, which has allowed me to develop strong interpersonal skills and teamwork skills. My teachers and educators have commended me for my enthusiasm and dedication to participate and help out where possible. I enjoy working with others and believe that my strong communication skills will ensure that I can meet the expectations of this role.
I am keen to develop my skills as a professional and look forward to discussing my application with you at an interview. Enclosed is a copy of my resume for your consideration.
Thanking you in advance for your time,
Check out more examples of cover letter for job seekers in any industry here.