Ever wondered why despite the tons of emails you send your resume to, you do not receive responses? Part of the process of applying for a position is your job application letter or cover letter as it is popularly known.
We’ve already mentioned the merits of having a one-page, crisp resume, but even before the hiring manager opens the attachment, your job application letter, or email in recent times, offers the first glimpse of your profile.
Here’s how you can write an effective job application letter that will grab eyeballs and make the hiring manager hit the reply button even before opening your resume.
To write an effective job application letter, you need answers to the following questions.
Why are you writing?The introduction in your cover letter or email should set your intent for writing in the first place. While the subject will mention the purpose, the reference to an advertisement, social media post, or even a conversation with a common acquaintance will get the HR manager’s attention. Bear in mind that your cover letter is for introducing your profile so compellingly that the recipient feels the need to see more of who you are and pick up the phone to fix an interview appointment at the earliest.
Where the resume is a series of chronological bullet points, your cover letter is a chance for you to get descriptive - however, within reasonable brevity - by mentioning how you helped your previous employer achieve their organisational milestones.
How should it look?Well, for beginners, it should be legible, well-formatted, and clean. The easiest way to achieve this, if you have to send a hard copy, is to type it out and then print it. Keep it short and of course, if you’re sending it on email, it shouldn’t be longer than three short paragraphs.
What should it contain?Make sure your cover letter includes glimpses into your resourcefulness. This will demonstrate how you can help the company achieve its goals. The relevant skills and capabilities you possess for the role and organisation should be evident instantly when the recruiter reads your cover letter. If you can put facts and figures to your achievements, include them to make the case even more compelling for the hirer.
In a hard copy, your contact details - phone, address as well as email id are all important inclusions. Be sure to add references but only once you’ve checked with the individuals for consent to do the same.
Who are you writing to?Whether you’re writing to the CEO directly, an HR executive within the company, or a department head - be mindful of who you are writing to and customise your job application letter appropriately. Also take into consideration the industry, competition of the company, the department you are likely to be part of, and the size of the company.
Avoid the following when writing your Job Application Letter
Don’t summarise or repeat lines from your resumeIf it was your resume that the recruiter preferred to read directly, she or he would do so - don’t repeat entire lines or sections from your resume on your cover letter. Explain your achievements and outcomes through examples or numbers. Since you aren’t constrained by the format of bullet points, you can explain it with clarity.
This isn’t the time or place to mention remuneration expectationsYour covering letter or application mail is the first instance when you are opening the conversation about your intent to take on the position. It’s a space in which you pique the recruiter’s interest and prove your mettle. Once you’ve whetted their appetite, only then can you graduate to the money talk. Your application letter is no place to discuss remuneration. It is also an unwritten negotiation rule to not make the first move on the salary topic.
Don’t showcase your Primary School AchievementsIf you’re a fresher, you may be tempted to mention all your achievements - even when you were selected Sports Captain or won an inter-house debate competition in class 5th. Those are not relevant to your job and take up unnecessary real estate on your resume.
Refrain from using colloquialismsIf you’re applying to a young startup or a long-standing corporation, a bank or an advertising agency, in which geography - these are just some of the elements that will determine how casual or formal your application letter will be. Make sure you look up the company’s website for inspiration and have your letter proofread and looked up by an experienced person, so you do not send a letter with any errors.
Job Application Letter Samples
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