I was in my second year of college, applying for an internship for the first time. I was scrolling through Internshala’s website and applying for literally any internship that fit my skill set. Some applications demanded a cover letter; I would either attach my resume again or leave it blank. I never got a callback.
For the longest time, I thought that a resume and a cover letter were basically the same thing. I am sure that I am not the only one who had this misconception!
A resume is a condensed document that summarises your educational and professional history and plays a crucial part in your job application. A cover letter, on the other hand, much like a statement of purpose, is a summary that explains why you’re the best person for that particular job.
In this article, you’ll learn how to write a cover letter that will increase your chances of getting a callback, whether it’s for an internship or your dream job. Bonus: A free cover letter template for you at the end!
How Important Is A Cover Letter And Why You Should Use It
A cover letter is a concise document that conveys why you’re the perfect fit for that particular job. It is not usually a mandatory requirement, but it’s always a good idea to send one along with your resume while applying for a job.
Why, you ask? Because it is an opportunity to add a personal touch to catch the recruiter’s eye so they get to know you better. Also, recruiters tend to favour applicants who send a cover letter along with their resume over the ones who don’t. Extra points for effort!
How To Write A Cover Letter
A good cover letter is concise and to the point. It should be no longer than a single page and divided into four paragraphs. You can write your cover letter any way you see fit based on the job you’re applying for, and be as creative as possible.
Here are some tips that might come in handy while writing a cover letter:
Know The Job And Organisation Before You Write
It’s always a good idea to write your cover letter with the job role and organisation in mind.
For instance, if it’s a young start-up or a company with a casual work environment, a light tone of voice mixed with humour and pop culture references should work. However, if it’s a big corporation that has a formal work environment, play it safe with a traditional and formal format.
Pro tip: If you’re interested in working for a company that isn’t hiring at the time, write a letter of interest, where you convey your interest in working for the company. This is a great way to find opportunities that are not yet posted on career platforms.
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Have A Catchy Introduction
The first and last paragraphs are the most important elements of your cover letter as they will determine whether your recruiter will read the rest of it. So, keep it as interesting (and engaging) as possible.
Here are some key points you can cover in your opening paragraph:
- Be direct and to the point
- Convey how you’re the perfect person for the role
- Highlight your achievements
- Start by showing your interest and enthusiasm for the job
I’ve been actively seeking a role with a visionary organisation where I can take my content creating skills to the next level. This opportunity is exactly what I’ve been looking for.
Pro tip: Always be clear on whom you’re addressing your cover letter to. Do a bit of research on LinkedIn and find out your hiring manager’s name. Based on the company’s culture, decide whether you want to address them with their first or last name. If you don’t know their name, simply address them as ‘hiring manager’.
Explain Why You’re The Right Person For The Job
Unlike your resume, a cover letter should simply talk about how you’re the perfect fit for the role. The recruiter is not looking for what you’ve achieved before but how those achievements can help satisfy the company’s goals and needs.
However, do highlight your achievements when starting off and subtly mention how your experience will contribute to the growth of the company.
Close By Providing Value
You’ve introduced yourself and explained why you’re perfect for the role. So far, so good! Now, remember when I said that the first and last paragraph are the most important elements of your cover letter? Well, we’re in the endgame now.
A lot of people end their cover letter with plain sentences like “Thank you for your time. Hoping to hear back from you soon.” Never do that; always try to add value to your closing statement. Tell them you’re looking forward to meeting them for a one-on-one interview and discuss how your skills and experience can contribute to the growth of the company.
I admire your company’s vision and philosophy, and I’d love to discuss how my skills and experience can bring value to your company.
Common Cover Letter Mistakes To Avoid
It’s important to remember that a cover letter is not meant to be a summary of your life achievements – it’s a concise personal pitch that allows the recruiter to attach a personality to the resume they’re going through.
Here are some common cover letter mistakes to avoid while writing a cover letter:
Do not rehash your resume
A cover letter is a chance for the recruiter to see your personality and your ability to succeed.
Do not focus too much on yourself
Remember that you’re still trying to convince them that you’re a good fit for the job!
Sharing your completely professional history
This is where you can choose to customise your letter – only mention roles and achievements that are relevant to the role.
They denote the lack of an eye for detail.
Recruiters go through these documents on a daily basis – they can sniff out a half-hearted effort.
A Little Extra To Help You Create Your Cover Letter
To help you understand how a cover letter looks, I have attached a sample cover letter template. Use this cover letter template as a reference.
To get a hold of Kool Kanya’s exclusive expert-verified cover letter guide, sign up to the Kool Kanya Community!
Now with the above-mentioned tips, you’re all set to design your own cover letter and increase your chances of getting an interview call.
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