Cover Letters :: Are you telling them what they want to know?
Let's face it. Recruiters (or employers) are smarter than
we think. Bigger organizations pay a hefty salary to their
HR department to filter out and sieve through hundreds and
thousands of resumes. The idea is to build an organization
with people of the right mental aptitude. Most of the top
organizations believe strongly in a motto - "People are
their greatest assets". Your cover letter goes a long
way in capturing and retaining the attention of these people
whose main job is to recruit people and coordinate with the
A well-written cover letter engages the recruiter and pushes
him to spend more time reading your detailed resume. Before
you start off writing your cover letter, write down what you
want to convey on a paper. Read it once, twice, thrice and
then set off for a good start. Pack in as much power as you
can, because it is these 400 or 500 words that can make the
Have these things on your mind before you start off writing:
Keep your sentences short and avoid using really long sentences
because you don't want the recruiter to read it twice to understand
what you're trying to convey. Got the point.? Keep your sentences
Keep your language simple. "I take immense pleasure
in applying for this esteemed position in this esteemed organization."
Hell.! Your employer knows more about his organization than
you do. So you can as well cut the "false" praise.
Maybe a subtle mention can do wonders. "I look forward
to work with JK Industries".
Organize the content of your cover letter into small paragraphs
or bulleted points, not exceeding three paragraphs. Typically
each paragraph can contain 3 or 4 sentences.
Do NOT use slang or spoken words like "Lookin' fo a
kewl break into yo IT world".
Make sure your cover letter (and resume) is free from spelling
or grammatical errors.
And most important: Deliver what the employer is looking
So, what should you put in your cover letter?
Ask yourself two questions. One, why should the employer
choose you over others? And two, what can you give to the
company that others cant? Skills, yes. Proven experience,
A good way to start writing is with the correct greeting
phrase. If you know the name of the person you are addressing
then you can start with 'Dear Ms. Stevenson' or 'Dear Mr.
Washington'. Do not use their first names. A bad greeting
would be 'Hi Jane' or 'Hello George'.
The first paragraph is to contain a reference. If this is
a response to an advertisement or a vacancy listing, this
is where you refer to get their attention. Alternatively you
can put in a separate line mentioning your reference. (Ref:
Your advertisement on Jobsite.com - Ref # 12345).
If you're mentioning your reference in the first paragraph,
you can continue on to include why you applied for that position.
A good way of connecting the reference to your application
is "my skills and your requirement are a good match."
Put that in your own words.
In the next paragraph, you justify your statement about why
you think that your skills and the skills required for the
position are a good match. Make a single line reference to
a particular achievement in your current (or previous) job
that is along similar lines so that the employer will know
exactly what he's looking for. A good example would be "Set
up a fully operational network of franchisees in Southern
France for retailing ABC Coffee".
Avoid mentioning skills you don't have or projects you have
never worked on. Because sooner or later, you're going to
face it; when the interviewer looks into your cover letter
(or resume) and says "OK, Mr. Stephens, can you give
me an instance of how you can use XML to port data from a
backend system into a Middleware application"? And that's
when you mind starts racing, "XML?? Middleware?? Port..??
Is that my resume he's got..???". God bless you if it's
not your resume.
If there are more achievements you want to include, write
them down in bulleted points. It's easier for the employer
to read, comprehend and get a good picture of your capabilities.
Do not reproduce your entire resume here. 2 or 3 such points
will do perfectly fine. Of course, do not include irrelevant
achievements like "Won a Silver Medal in 200 x 4 Men's
Relay Race conducted by Louisville Young Adults Club in 1991".
Not unless you're applying for the post of a Physical Trainer
You have made your point here. You know why you're applying.
And recruiters like that. You know your responsibilities,
the risks involved and the tasks you'll be handling. You're
just the person they're looking for. At least, you're one
of the persons they'd like to talk to before handing over
the employment contract.
An ending note can make quite an impression. Tell them your
resume is attached and that you're "looking forward to
explore this opportunity further". Include an address
and telephone number for them to contact you.
Sign off with a "Yours Truly" or "Best Regards"
and put your complete name under it.
Get into form and write out your winning cover letter.
About The Author
Amit Pujar is a copywriter/technical writer currently heading
the content department of an online publication. Amit writes
on a variety of subjects and is currently working on his first
non-fiction. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org