CAREER: HOW TO MAKE YOUR COVER LETTER STANDOUT FROM THE CROWD



Do you know what employers are looking for in the job market? In case you know, do you have what it takes to meet up with their demands?  

Employers are on the search for talents. Employers are not employing you because of you. They are basically after what you can bring to the table.

Knowing how to write a good Cover Letter is one way to meet up with a job opening and grab the attention of your prospective employer. This is because it is the first element of your application that your prospective employer is most likely to read. 

A cover letter is an essential part of a job application, though there are a few positions that do not require a cover letter or the need for a cover letter is not mandatory.

A cover letter is mostly mandatory for beginners. So, as a beginner, to be considered for almost any position, you will need to write a cover letter, which is also known as application letter.

What is a Cover Letter?

It is a letter that introduces you, explains why you are interested in a job, highlights a few of your experiences, skills and competences, and avails you the opportunity to requests appointment with the prospective employer. It is otherwise known as an application letter.

Having a good CV is not enough in most cases. A cover letter is required to make your application more specific. Focusing on your CV alone makes your application process vague. Your cover letter will determine if you will be called for an interview or be ignored.

However, there are 3 sides to a cover letter: Application, Prospecting and networking.

For the purpose of this article, we shall be looking at Application and prospecting. For both letters, the appropriate content, format and tone vary according to the position and the personality of the applicant.

HOW TO WRITE A COVER LETTER:

The first thing to do before settling down to write your Cover Letter is to do your research.

Take some time to research the position you’re applying for and the organization – and use this information to customize your cover letter. You can use the information on the job description and specification. 
In doing your research, ask yourself the following questions:
  1. What does the organization do? What the
  2. Who are their rivals (competition)? Who their competitors are
  3. Who are their target customers? Who their customers are
  4. What does the position entail?
  5. What are the required skills for the job?
  6. Who is in charge of the recruitment process?
Once you are able to answer the above questions correctly, then you are good to go. On your cover letter, make it clear how your skills and abilities can help them meet their goals. This approach will make you a good fit for the job. 
Doing a research before writing a cover letter is very key, as it gives an idea on how to customize your CV and Cover letter to be a good fit for the job I question. Also it shows that you really have interest in the organization and the position.
 It is meant to be written in the following format: There are 4 major aspects to a Cover Letter: Contact Address, opening, Body and closing.
 HOW TO STRUCTURE YOUR COVER LETTER:
There are several ways to a good Cover Letter. You just have to be sure it is good enough to make the recruiter invite you for an interview. 
Structure it in a way that it will flow with vital information strong enough to land you an interview in the shortest possible time. 
Below is a guide on how a good Cover Letter should be structured: 
Contact information: Here you write your address and the Recruiter s address. Placement of the address depends on the style of writing you want to adopt.
For the British style, your address should be at the top right while the recruiter s address should be at the left, directly below your address. 
For the American style, which is the widely used format, both addresses should be on the left with your address above the Recruiter’s.
HOW TO ADDRESS A COVER LETTER
 Usually, Cover letters are addressed to the recruiter. You can find the name in the job advert or go the extra mile of visiting the organization s website or calling the office to find out.
Addressing your Cover Letter accurately shows some level of genuine interest and intelligence. 
When you find the name, address it using the last name of the recipient: Dear Mr Lawal/ Dear Mrs Danjuma, Dear Ms Odogwu.
 You can use Dear Sir/Madam when you are not able to find out the name; it’s okay.  
 OPENING :
1st Paragraph – Why are you writing to the Recruiter?
 Make your opening short and simple, explaining why you are writing the letter.  It’s also important to include how you got to know about the job opening- a friend, Social Media, Dailies, Radio, TV or referral?  Please, do well to mention your source of information. 
Example: I am writing to indicate my interest in the position- Business Manager - currently being advertised by your Organization on Guardian Newspaper, dated July 12th 2017 - Please find enclosed my CV.
2nd paragraph – Why do you think you are a fit for this job?
Briefly describe your skills, experiences, attributes, competence, professional, academic qualifications, hobbies, etcetera,  that are relevant to the position and ensure you match them with the required skills stated in the job description.
Example: As stated in my attached CV, I have over five years’ experience in the Business Management/Consultancy with a reputable company, and I believe the knowledge and skills I have acquired over the years will be a perfect match for the job, making me the right candidate for this position.  
 3rd paragraph – What do you have to offer for help them meet there organizational goals?
 Tell them what your skills, experiences, knowledge, amongst others can do for them.  Outline your career goals and making it relevant to the position you’re applying for. Further explain on salient points in your CV – including examples to back up your skills.
 Example: In the past five years I have worked in different capacity – Outlet Manager, A researcher, Supervisor, Quality Assurance Manager. In my current role as an internal Business Strategist, Rex Ltd, I have been responsible for formulating strategies at the helm of affairs, which has increased revenue by 200% in the last 9 months.
4th paragraph – Summarize all you have said earlier. 
In this paragraph, you summarize or lay more emphasis on why you are interested in the working in the organization and why you are the best candidate for the position.
 You can also use this medium to fix an appointment with the recruiter for an interview or a chat. Here’s where you reiterate your interest in the role and why you would be the right fit for the role. 
Example: 
with the level of success I have attained in discharging my responsibilities, I am confident I can replicate same in your organization in helping achieve your goals and objectives.
 
With my experience and expertise, I believe I will start by hitting the ground running.
 Thank you for your time and consideration. I look forward to meeting with you to further discuss how we can work together to achieve your goals and objectives.  
CLOSING 
If you are adopting the British format, sign off your cover letter by your right with ‘Yours sincerely’, if you know the name of the hiring manager, or ‘Yours faithfully’, if you don’t, followed by your name. With the American format, do it by your left. 
Note: For a prospecting Cover Letter, you don’t need to write refer to any publication. All you need do is to write according to the information you gather concerning the organization’s needs.
 TIPS TO CONSIDER: 
1.      Try to limit your letter to a single page, preferably three-quarter of A4 paper.  Make it the right length, not too long, and not too short.
2.      With this in mind, write it in such a way that your recruiter cannot wait to meet with you. It has to be clear and concise. You need to be specific. 
   
3.      You can discuss with people who are more experienced in writing cover letters and are conversant with the recruitment process.

4.      Avoid bad grammar and spelling mistakes. Check your punctuation.

5.      Ensure your letter clearly articulates why you are the ideal candidate for the position.
6.     Be professional with your Cover Letter: avoid long and complex sentences and paragraphs; avoid jargon. Use action verbs and the active voice; express confidence, optimism, and enthusiasm.

7.     In each paragraph, let your sentences flow and connect with each other, arranging your points in a logical sequence.

8.     Let the Recruiter perceive your personality from your Cover Letter.

9.      You can be as boastful as you want– so long as you have the evidence to back it up.

10. Your cover letter should be concise, to-the-point and well-presented.

11.  Use an easy-to-read font, and don’t ‘garnish’ with pictures, Comic Sans, word art, and so on.

CONCLUSION:
Do all you can for your Cover Letter to get noticed and land you an interview in this saturated job market of ours.








No comments

Powered by Blogger.