Guest Post: What Constitutes a Powerful Cover Letter and Why Bother Writing It

How to Write a Powerful Cover Letter

There are certain things in life that any adult must do – sometimes, more than once. Not all of them are pleasant and easy (in fact, most aren’t). One such thing is searching for a job.

Several decades ago, this task had to be performed once, maybe twice in a lifetime. Changing jobs and careers was uncommon back then.

But things have changed, and nowadays the average number of job changes throughout a person’s career is 12, according to a survey of baby boomers conducted by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics in 2019. The average person also changes careers 5-7 times during their working years.

Add to that the fact that the market is flooded with high-profile, well-educated specialists with impeccable resumes. You see, the competition is incredibly high.

In this situation, you really need to stand out from the crowd, make a strong impression on hirings managers, and convince them that you are exactly the person they are looking for.

How can you do it, if you only communicate online, don’t have the right connections, and can’t make a personal impression yet? The answer is – write a powerful cover letter!

If writing is not your cup of tea, but you’re a great professional in tech or other non-humanitarian fields, you can use established writing services like Essay Pro to create a perfectly tailored cover letter for you. Or, if you feel confident enough, you can write it yourself. But first, let’s find out if it’s really that important.

Why It’s Important to Write Cover Letters

Today, when most job offers are posted online, written documents matter more than ever. Some years ago, you could see an ad in a newspaper, phone an HR specialist, and settle an interview. In 2020, you will never make it to an interview at all if you can’t compose a decent response to an offer that you’re interested in.

You may think that your resume or CV, (submitted in a digital form) is the only way to draw attention to your candidature. You revise it over and over again, but still don’t get the much-desired interview invitation? This is probably because your resume is incomplete without an accompanying note.

A concise and earnest cover letter really increases your chances of being hired, experts say. Some managers even value these documents more than an in-depth resume – for example,  Lauren Nelson, a communications specialist, and VP at Aesthetic Cogency.

Nelson says that she always requires a cover letter with any job application, but she doesn’t always receive it. And from those that are received, few are really tailored to suit the job offer. Other experts confirm: if an applicant is too lazy to write a message, how can he or she be a reliable worker?

Here are the common reasons that experts cite in favor of bothering to write a cover letter. It:

  • makes an instant impression from the first lines;
  • helps to understand the personality of the applicant;
  • shows the level of motivation;
  • helps to see if the applicant understands the connection between his or her skills and the job requirements.

Of course, composing a truly compelling document that will satisfy hiring managers requires good writing skills, time, patience, and experience. You may need to rewrite your letter several times, do many corrections and additions before you’ll have something that will really work. But it will be worth it.

Read this article to the end to find out how to construct an impressive message that won’t be ignored.

What Constitutes a Powerful Cover Letter?

A cover letter is a short written document that briefly, but catchily outlines the applicant’s credentials and his or her interest in the job presented in the offer.

As we’ve already noted above, this document is highly important and can help a candidate to win a competition. A proper letter can easily set you apart from other applicants with similar resumes. On the contrary, a poorly constructed message will most certainly kill your chances of an interview invitation.

So please, take the time and read about what constitutes a powerful cover letter before starting to write it.

There is a number of qualities that are essential for this document. Your letter should be:

  • Short;
  • Precise;
  • Written in the right tone;
  • Addressed personally;
  • Contain only relevant information;
  • Be specially tailored for every concrete job offer;
  • Contain no typos and grammatical errors.

Now, let’s look more deeply into each of these.

1.   Length

First and foremost, keep your message short. The general opinion is that it shouldn’t exceed one page, but some experts say it’s better to make it even more concise.

Of course, it’s natural that you want to say as much as possible about your experience and credentials. But remember – you already have your resume!

Managers may receive dozens and even hundreds of applications, and if they see a long letter, they will most probably be reluctant to read it.

Also, a long missive is usually a bad sign for hiring managers, because it means that a candidate cannot express thoughts clearly and concisely.

2.   Precision

Another crucially important task when writing a cover letter is to keep it precise. Write only what you really mean to say and avoid any ambiguity. If you feel the need to consult a dictionary – don’t hesitate to do it.

Avoid generality: it’s better to say that, for example, your efforts helped increase the company’s revenue by 30% last year than just that you did very well in your previous position.

But don’t forget to check all the figures and other important info! You should always have something to back up your words.

3.   Tone

Generally, the tone of voice for a cover letter should be formal and respectful, yet enthusiastic. Most experts also advise avoiding any attempts to be humorous.

But a lot depends on the company you’re willing to work for. So, it’s important to do some research: check your possible employer’s official website, blog, and social media accounts, read the job offer description thoroughly several times. How does the company communicate with its customers, what are its values and public image?

After you find that out, write your letter in a similar tone and try to show that you share the same values.

4.   Names

It’s considered impolite to send messages that are not personally addressed. Today, even email marketers send only personalized offers – and your letter should be (or seem) a unique offer!

With websites and social media at our disposal, it doesn’t take too much to find out the name of the hiring manager, if it hadn’t been specified in the initial offer. By addressing your letter personally, you’ll instantly the possibility that your message will actually be read.

5.   Relevancy

It’s not a good idea to write about those salsa courses you attended last summer when applying for an IT department specialist position. Better leave this information for coffee breaks with your future colleagues.

The same goes for all other information irrelevant to your professional field and the kind of job you’re willing to get. But be careful to not duplicate the data already included in your CV! Your cover letter should complement your resume, not repeat it or summarize.

6.   Customization

Generic cover letters are unattractive. Though it may seem an obvious choice to write just one document for all applications and then simply change the names, don’t go this way.

Managers always see when the letter is generic because they get tones of such ones. Instead, try to show that you’re not just looking for any job, but this is exactly this job offer that interests you most.

In order to do this, tailor your message to suit the offer – explain how you can fulfill the company’s needs and solve its problems. If you don’t know how to do it and have no relevant experience, maybe the position is not for you, after all.

7.   Correctness

Last, but not least: your letter should be grammatically correct and contain no typos. Don’t spoil all your work by forgetting to do the editing.

Read your writing a couple of times to eliminate all obvious mistakes, then use applications like Grammarly and HemingwayApp to do the final check.

Is everything fine? Congratulations, your powerful cover letter is done!

Now, it’s time to polish your resume, if you haven’t already done so.

Conclusion

Writing a cover letter is an essential part of the process of applying for any job. An enthusiastic, concise, and appealing accompanying message increases your chances of being hired and intensifies the effect of your resume.

So, it’s highly important to learn to compose great cover letters and never forget to send them. Writing this short document perfectly is not an easy task, but if you’ve read our article attentively, you know how to handle it now.

Your writing may not be ideal from the first try, but it will certainly get better with practice. However, if you aren’t satisfied with the result of your own attempts, you can always hire professionals to do this job for you.


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