In your professional cover letter, a few numbers of paragraphs is all you get to present yourself as a worthy employee and it could be both difficult and challenging. However, a striking first impression is of utmost importance as a jobseeker and setting the right tone will help your application to be selected as a prospective applicant. This can be done and shown through a good cover letter which is both professional and correctly formatted. You may not know what a recruiter/hiring manager is looking for, but do not let yourself miss this opportunity to climb the corporate ladder because of it. Some might think and say that cover letters are unnecessary, but it is one of the first things a future employer will look at before deciding to hire you.
A cover letter will support your resume and help present yourself by introducing you in it. It will lay the solid foundation for your resume by building on your qualifications, skills and credentials that are required and relevant to a specific role. Writing a distinctive cover letter that differentiates you from the other candidates can be a challenge as most job seekers struggle to correctly identify what is required of them to perform a role they are interested in applying. A well written cover letter will heavily depend on the planning and execution of it. Such a cover letter will showcase your skills, qualifications, and experience in a well-defined manner. It would also most certainly not include any irrelevant information that may change the recruiter/ hiring manager’s decision to give you a call for an interview. So. having a spectacular resume may not help if your cover letter is not up to the same high standards.
A cover letter is important because the recruiting manager may decide to move on to the next applicant if yours isn’t reflecting the value you bring to them. Lastly, if you are applying for jobs through Indeed, Monster, Career Builder, Zip Recruiter, Glassdoor or another job board, they typically paste your cover letter as the body of the email and attach the resume to the bottom of the email so, a hiring manager might miss it all together. Additionally, a cover letter is another place to add the correct keywords so an ATS (Applicant Tracking System) can locate your application. It also shows that you have done extra work to be known and visible to the employer and here are five key things you should check in your cover letter if you want to get more interviews.
1. Hiring Manager’s Name
Addressing your cover letter to the right person is crucial. Using their name at the top of the cover letter instead of the usual ‘To whom it may concern’ or ‘Dear Sir/Madam’ will show the hiring manager that you have researched the company well. This will also add a personal touch to the cover letter and may even be the extra care that will get you to an interview. It may seem complicated, but it is far more comfortable as there are only a handful of people who are in charge of the recruiting process within a company and LinkedIn might be a right place to find them. If you cannot see the proper contact, you can address it to the Human Resources Manager, or the Sourcing Coordinator or Recruiter or an HR representative. Doing so shows them that you have not used a generic template in your cover letter but have spent time writing it. A job advertisement will almost always have the person to whom you have to address to in it. If it does not, you may always call up the company to inquire. However, make sure that you get both the name and the correct spelling of the person you need to address the cover letter to so, your application can be directed to the appropriate person in human resources team.
2. Contact Information
Having a job application that is both impressive and free of errors can benefit you during a job search. However, imagine if a recruiter decides to call you to discuss an interview date with you – but cannot, because you have forgotten to include your contact details in the resume and cover letter. Many applicants have known to ignore the essential inclusion of their contact information as they have focused too keenly on other areas of the job application. This small mistake could cost you an interview! So, make sure that you do not make this error, or you won’t hear from hiring managers even if you are the best candidate for the open role. On your cover letter use the full name that appears on your LinkedIn profile and resumes along with your email address and phone number so, anyone interested in your skill set can reach you promptly. Also, if you are filling an online application form by uploading a cover letter in PDF OR Microsoft Word Document, make sure to use the same header in the contact details of your resume to make your job applications look more consistent. Besides, make sure the phone number added in your cover letter is the same in your resume so, you can have a powerful voicemail message with your availability.
3. Professional Email Address Format
Do not use an email address that sounds unprofessional and if you do not have a professional email address then, you can easily create one with free email providers. The simpler the email address, the better and your first and last name with no additional details is always best. Finally, do not use an email address your current employer (if you have one) has provided you with as it would only raise a red flag at your current position which will not be of any help to you.
4. The Name of the Company
This is important if you are applying to multiple organizations at a stretch. You do not want to type the company name wrong as this would not reflect well on you. Always use the complete name of the company without missing anything such as an Inc. at the end. Some applicants have made this error and have fumbled through it by forgetting or just not mentioning the full name of the company. Would you expect the company to hire you if you cannot even say its name on your cover letter? Most definitely not! If you want your cover letter to be a success by being read, then you must know quite a bit about the company and its reputation. Therefore, it is always best to double check your cover letter before submitting your job applications to any company.
5. Grammar and Spelling Errors
Proofreading is an essential aspect of applying for a job. Why would you send in your job application without proofreading it first especially if you spent hours making the cover letter perfect? Correcting your cover letter before sending it in will help you identify any spelling and grammatical mistakes that you may have caused. This will especially come in handy if your hiring manager is a very busy person with little to no patience for small slip-ups, especially if you are applying for a job that requires you to have communication skills that are exceptionally well. This is because having both spelling and grammatical errors will make an employer think you are careless and that you do not have a good command of the needed language.
Proofreading will help you figure out if you have made any common mistakes such as ‘affect’ versus ‘effect’ and ‘your’ versus ‘you’re.’ A spellchecker is an option though not recommended if that is the only one used to proofread the cover letter. Another would be proofreading the cover letter yourself which is a good idea; an even better if you print a copy of it and giving it to people who are good at grammar to figure out any spelling mistakes or grammatical errors. They may catch mistakes you missed and may even point out a few phrases that may be a bit unclear or confusing that you could improve. Your career coach, friends, family members, teachers or a professional resume writer like us can quickly help you build your cover letter, and we can show you the most effective ways and some pitfalls you can avoid during this process.
Finally, a perfect error-free cover letter might not guarantee you a job, but it has a higher chance of being read than one that is not. Always double check these five things mentioned above when building your cover letter and feel free to give us a call or email, so we can walk you through the next steps so that you can succeed in your job search.