Time is not an illusion for working professionals rather it is a constraint. Where a resume is a detailed explanation of all your qualifications, work experiences, and other relevant certifications, a cover letter, on the other hand, is a short summary usually consisting of three to four paragraphs, detailing all your educational qualifications as well as the reasons why you will be a perfect match for the vacancy.
A covering letter may or may not be submitted in response to a vacancy or a job opening, mostly it is submitted by fresh job seekers as well as working professionals, to the human resource managers of the organizations and business houses, that they dream of working with. However, this is not a hard and fast rule, and a cover letter could be submitted in response to a job opening too.
Need For A Cover Letter
Submitting a cover letter even before the launch of an official advertisement enhances your chances of selection at the time of actual hiring. This is because of the fact that human resource managers and the persons involved in the hiring process are already aware of your qualifications and capabilities. This not only helps you to get an easy screen out but also helps you considerably to get an interview call. Hence, no matter at which juncture of career you are, it is always good to prepare an exhaustive and smart covering letter.
A cover letter can be given for both securing an internship as well a regular job. The format and the content of a covering letter change and modify in accordance with its purpose. This article contains exhaustive information as to:
- Format to be followed
- Sample cover letters
- Tips on writing an efficient and effective covering letter
Format Of A Cover Letter
If you are an experienced business professional working in a position of repute in either middle-level or higher-level management, it is always recommended that you write a covering letter on your official letterhead, as this leads to a greater impact and long-lasting impression upon the human resource managers. A typical format of a cover letter, usually followed by almost all professionals is explained in a step by step manner below:
Step I: Mention Address Of The Recipient
As a first step, always mention the complete and correct address of the recipient of this covering letter. A covering letter is usually sent to the hiring manager, who handles and manages the entire recruitment process of a particular organization.
Step II: Mention The Current Date
Undated letters are quite unprofessional and improper. It is necessary and vital to mention the date on which you are writing your cover letter.
Step III: Give An Appropriate Salutation
In this third step, you just greet and address your recipient using a suitable salutation. Some of the most followed and appropriate salutations are as below:
- Respected Sir/Ma’am
- To whom it may concern
- Dear Mr. /Mrs. ____________
- Honorable Mr./Mrs. ____________
Step IV: Introductory Paragraph
Well begun is half done. This is your first chance to impress the hiring manager. An introductory paragraph is usually written in self-praising and aggressive language using words that describe your attitude, educational qualifications, and the primary reason why you are interested in a particular position. The language to be used must be persuasive and must have the ability to catch the attention of the reader. A dull or boring language might lead a human resource manager to lose interest at the very beginning or inception.
Step V: Body Of The Covering Letter
In the introductory paragraph, you have already mentioned your educational qualification and work experience in a short, concise, and brief manner. However, now is the time, to elaborate on your best skills and establish a link between your achievements and the requirements of a position or a job opening. While framing the body of a cover letter, make sure that you are now explaining everything in a friendly tone which is moderately persuasive and majorly informative.
Step VI: Concluding Paragraph
This is the last paragraph of a cover letter, wherein you must extend an appreciation to the human resource manager for giving your letter due consideration and their valuable time. Also through this paragraph, you can also give clarifications in respect of any major shortcoming or weakness. For example, you might want to explain the possible reasons for a gap in your education or explain the reasons for fewer certifications.
Step VII: Closing The Cover Letter
This is the last step in the creation of a covering letter, wherein a candidate is supposed to close the cover letter using his signatures and a complimentary salutation. Putting signatures and a complimentary salutation not only authenticates a document but also gives a sense of professionalism to the reader. Some common and most followed complimentary salutations are mentioned below:
- Thanks and Regards
- Thanking You
- Yours Sincerely
- Yours Respectfully
- Thanks for your consideration
Two Sample Cover Letters
The three paragraphs of a cover letter are the only variations in the format of a cover letter, with the rest of the items remaining constant and identical. Hence, while writing covering letters only these paragraphs have been focused upon.
For Fresher Individuals
I am writing this letter to display my interest in securing a position at your prestigious institution in the highly coveted finance department. I am a major in finance from a reputed institution and have completed several certifications in the financial domain. Being a hardworking, preserving, and ambitious person, I wish to contribute to your organization with my skills, knowledge, and labor.
Body Of The Covering Letter
In addition to my excellent academic record, I have also undertaken a 6-month internship at a tax consultancy organization which has given me practical exposure and much-required training. Using my theoretical skills as well acquired practical knowledge, I believe I could be a perfect fit for the role of junior accountant, financial analyst, or cashier at your reputed organization.
I wish to extend my gratitude and appreciation for giving due consideration to my letter. In case you are interested in my candidature, It would be great if we could set up a face-to-face meet. Further, I would like to clarify that there is a one-year gap in my education, which was primarily due to situations and circumstances beyond my control. I hope we can further the discussion at a personal meet.
For Experienced Individuals
Being an industry veteran, with more than 10 years of experience in marketing, I have worked with almost all the famous and successful brands out there. I am an alumnus of the prestigious XYZ College of Business Administration and have worked for 6 years at several reputed business houses and the rest of the four years with unicorn startups. Through this letter, I wish to express my desire of working in a suitable position at your esteemed business organization.
Body Of The Covering Letter
Working with established as well as beginner organizations, has stretched my level of imagination, and now I am able to create effective as well as impactful marketing campaigns both online and offline. I have knowledge of almost all the digital marketing techniques and have even established contacts with prominent influencers, business models, and scriptwriters. Given a chance, I have the ability to modernize and boost the sales of the organization.
I wish to express my appreciation for entertaining my covering letter and giving me an opportunity to present my candidature. I would really like to have an in-person meet with you at the official headquarter of the organization. In case you have any doubts or you wish to seek any further clarifications, kindly mail to me at (_____mention your email address) or call me at (_____mention your active contact number_____)
Tips To Be Followed To Write An Efficient Cover Letter
1) Must Not Be Verbatim
A cover letter is not equivalent to or a substitute for, a resume. Rather it could be considered as an abridged, shortened, or concise form of the resume, wherein you use persuasion so as to attract a hiring manager to demand and request for your resume. Hence, your covering letter must not contain a lot of words, rather it must be crisp and to the point.
2) Strictly Follow the Format
Everything in this world follows a certain procedure. It would not be nice if every day the moon used to rise from the east and the sun kept on heating the earth constantly. The same applies to writing business communications and covering letters as well. The format mentioned above must be followed religiously while writing covering letters. All the salutations, addresses, and dates must be mentioned and written in the applicable sequence.
3) Use Of Less Fancy Formatting
Cover letters are usually prepared on utility software such as MS Word. It is necessary that while preparing a cover letter you tend to not overdo formatting. Use only appropriate business/corporate fonts, such as Calibri, Times New Roman, Georgia, etc., and type only in black ink. Use of more than one font or more than one color tends to look informal and might lead to an outright rejection of your cover letter.