The cover letter is a very important part of a job application which can initially unveil you as a serious job candidate just by the way you write it. You are applying for a position in a business organization so be as professional as possible when composing your cover letter, the first page that an employer will look at.
There could be many applicants for a particular job opening so the applicant who submits an application with a winning cover letter will likely get noticed at once. His application could then be segregated from the rest and would likely be the first candidate to be called for interview. Hence it is important to write your cover letter professionally – doing so will put you above the other job applicants and ahead of the competition.
A well-written cover letter demonstrates your communication and organizational skills, two things of paramount importance in any organization. Communication is a must skill that you must have especially in these days of the Internet when business transactions and negotiation are done mostly through emails and other fast means of communication.
Organizations therefore would look for communication skills in their people and they gauge this initially with the cover letter you have submitted together with your application for the job. Of what use, for example, is the expertise of one in a certain field of specialization if he does not know how to convey these skills by effective communication?
Here are four rules for cover letter writing that you can use when you compose your cover letter addressed to a prospective employer:
Rule # 1:
Take the time to write and customize your cover letter to fit the employer’s requirements as announced in the job advertisement. Be aware of the criteria for the position and come up with a list of what the employer wants. These requirements are usually included in the job ad and could include the specific areas of expertise the company needs, years of experience of a job applicant, his technical knowledge, the transferable skills that he possesses, and his personality traits. You must incorporate these items into your cover letter and use it to demonstrate by example that you have the desired qualifications the company is looking for.
Rule # 2:
Write the cover letter with the employer’s needs in mind – and definitely not your own needs. Describe what you can do for the employer and his company. Make your resume as clear as possible so the employer gets his information about you quickly. An ambiguously written resume and a poor cover letter is not what will attract the attention of your prospective boss.
Rule # 3:
In as brief a manner as possible, tell them in your cover letter why they should hire you. Capitalize on your qualifications without sounding boastful about it. The tone of your letter should be professional and to the point, without any pretence or unnecessary formality. One way to judge your letter is to read it out aloud and see if it sounds like a lawyer wrote it. If it does, revise it, because a professionally written cover letter flows naturally and has in fact a conversational tone.
Rule # 4:
Keep it Simple. Use a simple block format with left flush margins and ragged right margins, making it look natural as if it is a letter typed on a typewriter. Your cover letter will generate a better response if it looks like it was personally typed by you instead of appearing like it was computer-generated. As much as possible your cover letter must occupy only one page, so be as brief as possible in your writing but not sacrificing the real intent of the letter.