Acing your Cover Letter

Igbelokotor Joshua

The process of job application can be very daunting and when the application demands a cover letter, you can feel exhausted, out of ideas, or save the application for later and likely forget about it.

However, Industry experts often suggest that having a good cover letter is a key step in your job search. Everyone at one point in their career requires one, either as a student applying for internship positions, fresh graduate entering the labour force or you are simply changing career or moving up your career ladder.

It is an aspect of personal branding and it gives the potential employer an impression of you before they get to meet you and can increase your chances of invitation for an interview.

A cover letter sells you even before you speak and contextualizes your suitability to the role being applied for. Any error or misrepresentation at this stage can botch your chances for consideration of employment, so, your cover letter needs to be as perfect as possible, clearly presented, well worded, personalized, detailing your strengths specific to the job role you are applying for and addressed to the specific organization you have applied to. 

Yes, writing a cover letter can be tedious but you cannot send the same cover letter to different organizations just as you can not paint all pictures with the same brush. Here are more tips that can guide you in drafting a cover letter.


Language and Grammar 

Language style to use for a cover letter should be formal or business language. Although your cover letter personifies you, you do not have to convey this using informal words your choice of words should be one that is acceptable in a business setting using slangs and undefined acronyms should be avoided in formal writing, try spelling out the words. In some cases, your job application could be based on a recommendation from a friend, a business insider, relatives presupposing familiarity with your potential employer despite this fact, you should maintain formality in your choice of words.

It is also a good idea to proofread your letter, check for typographical, spelling, punctuation, and syntax errors before sending it out. it is not a good representation if your letter is filled with error as Confucius once said, “if the language is not correct, then what is said is not what is meant.” It is not a bad idea to utilize online writing tools in helping you with readability and clarity.

 

Address and Compliments

As a basic rule, your letter should contain your contact details and that of the recipient. It should contain details about the advertised role like the job ID or the position you are applying for. If the name of the recruiting officer is provided, please address the letter by recipient name if it is not provided, you could use ‘Hiring Manager’ rather than Dear Sir/Ma.

 

Content

The content of your cover letter can be very conversational, borderline braggadocios. Sell yourself in the best possible way. Do not forget that over 100 persons are applying for that same position, so your opening statement should be captivating, able to keep the reader interested in reading through, and subsequently invite you for an interview.

So, this is an opportunity for you to tell us your worth, what you bring to the table, and the observed need in the organization that you are serving. You can start with a personal story that captures your strength and success in your previous role or begin with a statement of fact that shows a need for your proficiencies or transferable skill set in the organization or the industry in general. Rather than;

“I wish to express my interest in applying to join your people operations team as an HR administrator for a full-time contract of 2 years. This job opportunity would burnish my administrative and human relationship skills, while I scale up on strategies to deliver on the organization’s KPI.”

 

Try this:

“We are in an age where human resource officers are assuming both health and safety responsibilities, such as legislation compliance, hazard identification, and accident prevention strategies.  My specific training as an occupational safety scientist enables me to function well here, just as my knowledge of psychosocial risk aids my ability in promoting effective communication, interpersonal relationship, and address issues of work-related stress within organizations.

More than this, working as an Executive Assistant-HR to the Director of Human resources with over 6000 personnel provides me with transferable skills on people management needed to function as a Human Resource administrator in your organization.”

 

Having captured the attention of the reader, sustain the interest by matching your proficiencies and skills with the identified need of the organization this would endear you more to the employer.

Although your cover letter is about you, your prospective employer should take central focus in the letter it should identify a need that you easily satisfy.

 

Brevity

Your cover letter should be detailed enough to endear you to a potential employer yet concise enough not to bore out the reader it is already a task for recruiters to go through different applications.

It should not be an autobiography or a repeat of your resume. A good idea is to use specific keywords related to the industry or job role you are applying for and rather than elaborate on your qualification and experience, focus on your achievement in your previous position and transferable skill set its also a good time to explain the reason for gaps in your CV.

You could also put links that lead to a previous job done.

 

Sign-off

it’s courteous to end your letter with thanks and warm wishes however do not forget to oblige the recruiter for an interview opportunity to discuss your abilities in matching with the needs of the organisation. 

 

Final Thought

A good cover letter stands you out in the recruitment process. It is your marketing tool and you are the brand! Now you have read this, go back to that application you saved earlier or search for a new vacancy, follow these simple steps, and don’t let a cover letter stop you from your dream job.

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