Drafting Cover Letters

Cover Letters

Receiving an average of ten CVs per day by e-mail, I am embarrassed to admit that I seldom open the “Letter of Intent” if this comes as an attachment next to the enclosed CV. I thoroughly read the CV, but I often fail opening the attached letter.

Recognizing this superficiality, I tried to find a reason (not an excuse!) and to identify ways to empower applicants to submit more appealing letters of intent.

The term “Letter of Intent” is not by chance almost synonym to “Cover Letter”. I do read Cover Letters! As paradoxical this may sound, I have a solid explanation for clarifying the apparent misunderstanding.

The term “Cover Letter” already includes an intrinsic definition: this is a letter that is put in front of a subsequent message or attachment! The Cover Letter is meant to attract the attention of the reader! An intelligent, targeted, clear, catching cover letter can be a gate-opener for recruiters!

In order to raise interest for your attached CV, I will try to list below some tips related to your Cover Letter:

  • The Cover Letter should rather be the body text of the e-mail and NOT come as an attachment to your e-mail! Whoever opens your e-mail will first read your cover letter and then move on to opening the attachment (the CV in this case);
  • To make sure that your cover letter will be entirely read and interest already leveraged for opening your attached CV, make sure that your cover letter is not too long, but definitely engaging;
  • An engaging, attractive Cover Letter increases your chances to be invited for an interview, even prior full CV has been read by the recruiter!
  • Clarifying “engaging”, “attractive”, “appealing”: the Cover Letter highlights briefly but clearly your strengths related to the position you are applying for (or your general strengths if you don’t apply for a specific opening) – it emphasizes your skills, knowledge and experience; it marks your potential contribution to the business of the employer if he would select you to join his organization;
  • Please generally avoid describing yourself by using terms such as: “a big experience”, “an outstanding manager”, “a great leader”, etc. – these hyperboles (even if maybe true) are not likeable in the eyes of the reader;
  • Keep in mind that it is not only about you, but moreover about them: about what the organization, the company might be seeking! Being aware of that, phrase short sentences (even bullet-points) that describe how you could assist them if you would be part of their team. Point out the benefits they may have by employing you! (Once again, beware of hyperboles and exaggerations in phrasing!)
  • If you write a ‘general’ Cover Letter (not addressing a specific position, but rather directly approaching a company as a potential employer of choice), please describe the reason for having chosen them and precisely them for sending your application! Make them sense that they are an employer of choice to you! Employers appreciate this approach!
  • When addressing your e-mail with the attached CV to a Recruitment Company, draft a very clear Cover Letter, including: industries you would like to be active in; companies of choice or, on the contrary, companies that would not be of interest to you; location of the job & national / international mobility; types of jobs you might find appealing (I mean the job scope as such rather than position titles that are often irrelevant); any other information that might help the recruiter to understand what jobs would be suitable for you. Be 100% honest with the recruitment companies! They will professionally represent you in front of potential employers!

Throughout my ‘intervention’ above, I purposely repeatedly used the term “Cover Letter” to enhance awareness on WHERE to place your letter for the desired impact. As you surely know however, the terms may vary depending on the situation: “Application Letter” (responds to a specific job opening), “Prospecting Letter” (inquires about possible present or future job openings), “Networking Letter” (requests information and support for your job search), etc.

Whatever the name of the letter may formally be, please feel ensured that your Cover Letter may make the difference between obtaining a job interview and having your CV ignored, so it makes truly sense to devote the necessary time and effort to writing effective Cover Letters!

Wishing you a great deal of inspiration, please feel free to come back to me with your questions!

Featured Artist & Copyright: Ilie Krasovschi (original image)

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