Career Center

What is the Need of a Cover Letter

Present your qualifications, intentions, and availability to a prospective employer in a succinct, appealing manner. A personalized letter shows you are serious about your job search, since it is your first chance to make a great first impression. When faced with hundreds and thousands of applicants for a single job opening, your cover letter must entice the reader into considering you despite the nitty-gritty of dates, places of employment, and academic credentials.

1. Does a cover letter really make a difference?

A resume should never just appear alone on a decision-maker's desk, just like you would never show up uninvited at an employer's door. Your cover letter is the first chance for you to introduce yourself, present your qualifications, and show the search committee you are qualified to fill the advertised position.

2. Make it company-specific

Anyone can copy a sample cover letter and hope for the best. Take the time to personalize your letter by demonstrating that you are genuinely interested in working for the companies you are contacting. Indicate why you are passionate about working in that particular company. If the company has a new division, a project it is working on, or an acquisition it has made, please describe it. Make sure you've done your research. Whenever possible, direct the cover letter to a specific person.

3. What motivates you to send your resume and cover letter?

Ensure your cover letters are concise and clear. Your cover letter should include a specific job title, two to three reasons why your experience is relevant, and a brief description of your career highlights.

4. Draw attention to your strengths

Even if you are an excellent employee who never calls in sick, employers are looking for concrete reasons why they should hire you. Be confident. Include a few facts, list relevant skills, and highlight accomplishments on your current or most recent jobs that will be impressive.

5. Clearly state your intentions and qualifications

Unless you expect a recruiter or senior personnel manager to wade through a jumble of information on your cover letter before understanding why you are sending your resume, it will not happen.

6. What makes you different from the rest?

Show how your skills, talents, and experiences would enable you to be a valuable member of the team by emphasising them. You can briefly describe relevant volunteer or professional experience in your cover letter if you have it. Accounting professional serving as volunteer treasurer for a non-profit community health organisation; international sales representative with international experience and fluency in several languages.

7. Contains no negative information

Cover letters should not contain personality conflicts, pending litigation, or sarcastic comments about previous employers. When you badmouth your current employer, interviewers may be afraid that you will repeat the same performance if you are hired.

8. Do you need to include salary or relocation information?

Whenever a prospective employer requests a salary history or salary requirements in the cover letter, include them. In removing this information from your cover letter, you could be justified in getting your resume rejected. On your resume, never include salary and relocation information. 

9. The steps you need to take

Your cover letter should take a proactive approach. Describe your availability for a personal interview; include your home, work, email address, and/or cell phone number where you can be contacted; indicate that you will follow up by phone (where possible) to provide any additional information required.

10. Make sure you are direct

Cover letters and resumes written professionally can position you for the next position on the corporate ladder or move you into a different career field. When your presentation is neat, error-free, and includes strong words and facts, the reader will be encouraged to review your attached resume and invite you for an interview.