Anyone who submits a resume with his job application would need a cover letter as the first page that covers his resume. The job ad may have mentioned only the resume as a required submission, but it follows that you must have a cover letter accompanying your job application.
The company hiring people will expect that every applicant should have a cover letter as a brief introduction of himself while pointing to the resume for more detailed information. In fact it is the part of the job application that can convince a hiring manager to schedule an applicant for a job interview.
It is regarded as a sign of laziness, if not ignorance, for an applicant to send out a cover letter that is not tailored to the specific company. Some applicants have the same cover letter for all companies they apply with, not knowing that this could be a minus for them.
Cover letters should be written with care, addressed specifically to the company and for the specific job being applied for. Otherwise it could be a very poor cover letter that has been hurriedly sent out without any effort exerted to know more about the addressee company.
It is true that writing a cover letter adds to one’s wear and tear in the process of looking and applying for job. But the cover letter may be of more importance than any document you submit including the detailed personal resume about you.
The cover letter actually is the lead document that will be the first to be read by any prospective employer before he takes the trouble of going into your resume. The employer could be a busy person, so he tends to look for the summary of any communication that reaches him; the cover letter is precisely the portion of any job application that gives him a quick look at the person applying for the job.
The first thought of the person going over several applications will be “how can this person help US?” He resorts to read the cover letter immediately as this is supposed to be short and concise without him bothering to read the details in an applicant’s resume. Thus a cover letter will be a main key to whether an applicant has a chance to be considered favorably for the interview and the job or not.
If you are a job applicant you should therefore realize the need for a good cover letter to go with your job application, and you should endeavor that your cover letter should:
1. Have no spelling or typing errors at all. The letter is a short one so you should edit it properly.
2. Be addressed correctly to the person who can hire you. Resumes sent to the personnel department impersonally have a tougher time getting read by the concerned people who concentrate on the hiring activity. If you can find out (through networking and researching) exactly who is making the hiring decision, address the letter directly to that person. Be sure the name is spelled correctly and the correctness of his title that you use in your letter. Another thing that can turn off a reader of your letter is when you misspell his name.
3. Show that you wrote the cover letter in your own words to avoid making it sound like you just copied it from a reference book.
4. Be "natural". Do not worry that you could commit grammatical errors. Get the help of someone skilled in writing to edit your cover letter, to be sure.
5. Show the research that you had previously done on the company and reflected in your cover letter. It will impress them that you know something about them and make it clear that you didn’t just pick this company from any phone book.
6. Use terms and phrases that are meaningful to the employer, which you got also from your online researching.