Countless resumes and cover letters roll out for a single job offer, and most of them are dull and based off the same three templates you can find online. When the HR manager spends hours reading though ‘individualized’ cover letters that all sound the same, how do you stand out from the crowd?
Your cover letter should be what makes your resume and qualifications stand out among a dozen other qualified candidates. A well-written cover letter should display your passion, qualifications, and why you are the best fit for the position above everyone else.
Why Do I Even Need A Cover Letter?
The narrative of a well-written cover letter specific to your application gives you a chance to highlight the “why’s” of how you are fit to be considered an ideal candidate. A professionally written and honest cover letter allows you to highlight your strongest qualifications and make a lasting connection with the hiring manager.
Crafting an effective, personal, and customized cover letter will help clarify that your interests run high in coveting the opportunity offered. Going the extra distance shows you are serious enough to take the time needed to expand on your resume for the specific role.
What A Cover Letter Is All About.
You might think that a cover letter is just another run of the mill type of intro about yourself. It’s not. How you write your application cover letter and the type of format you follow makes a difference.
Depending on the format, the personal information you choose to include is spread sparingly all over the letter. The aim of this should be to deliver your content in a strategical order while keeping the reader engaged.
Remember that your application determines how the HR manager perceives you as a person, and your cover letter is the embodiment of your corporeal state in this stage. This is how first impressions develop in the process of job applications, and like it or not, the cover letter you write helps dictate the outcome.
The Four Types Of Cover Letters.
There are four types and popular formats for an application letter. The format you select should be based on the opportunity you are applying for and how it relates to your experience.
The Standard Application Cover.
The name says it all. Often used alongside a resume during a job application, the standard application cover letter is geared toward a certain job description. The content should be tailored to address each skill set and requirement mentioned on the job post. This structure is the most common among all four types. It is an easy-sell format that fits most job positions and should highlight the best aspects on your resume.
The Prospect Seeking Cover.
Unlike format number one, the prospect seeking cover letter is specifically written by a job seeker, addressed to the company of interest. This type of cover letter requires more research into the company and position, enabling you to tailor the content not only to the job requirements, but the company’s culture. These letters will often take longer to write as they are not based off a fill in the blank template.
The Who’s on Your Network Cover.
This format is undeniably the black sheep of all the cover letter formats. Boasting an informal structure and content, this letter should only be used when networking is a number one priority for the job, or you have previous history with the company. If no prior connection has been made between you and the HR manager, many employers would be confused by this type of cover letter. Short and to the point, the content should revolve around opportunities from former colleagues, mentors, and friends and how these experiences and people tie into the job position.
The “Not A Cover” Cover.
The last and least followed format focuses on simplicity and ease of writing. This cover letter simply functions the way it should, no matter how thick or thin the resume it accompanies. The content should be written professionally but short and is easy to use when a formal cover letter is not required. The “Not A Cover” cover letter begins with a greeting, followed by a simple paragraph showcasing experience and then a second that amplifies the interest in working for the company. It closes with a clear reference to any attachments included such as your resume.
Final Aspects To Any Cover Letter.
At the end of your cover letter, whichever format you decide on, simply state or talk about your availability. Let the employer know the period of effectivity for the job opportunity and include the contact information that is on your resume.
Lastly, have an attitude of gratefulness and thank the person whom you are writing for his/her time and consideration of your application. On the second part of this series, we’ll go deeper into the science of landing a job using a cover letter and how to effectively write and format each one.