A Key to Excel in the Competitive Edge of the Job Market, Top Ten Frequently Asked Questions About Cover Letters

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Title: Top Ten Frequently Asked Questions About Cover Letters

  • What is the importance of a Cover Letter?

  • List out some of the biggest mistakes Cover-Letter Writers Make?

  • What kind of Cover Letters are suitable?

  • Is it right to Mass-Produce the Same Letter to all the Companies for which a person is interested in Working?

  • What’s the most important thing that needs to be included in the body of the letter?

  • What are some other approaches to make a Cover Letter Dynamic?

  • Should References be included in the Cover Letter?

  • What should be the length of the letter?

  • What’s the best way to ensure the Cover Letter is Well-Written and right on Target?

  • Are Thank-You Letters Necessary?

What is the importance of a Cover Letter?

  • A cover letter should always accompany ones resume.

  • In some cases employers will seriously consider a resume without a letter.

  • A cover letter tells the employer exactly what kind of job one is looking for and relates qualifications to that particular job.

  • The cover letter is the way to show an employer how you fit the company’s needs.

  • An employer gives more preferences to a well-written, interesting cover letter reflecting the personality of the candidate and therefore has better chances of getting shortlisted.

  • It has been observed that an employer takes as few as 20 seconds to choose a suitable cover letter once the screening is done.

  • In case of rejection quite often a candidate come across such words: “We chose the candidate who provided the best fit with our needs.”

List Out Some of the Biggest Mistakes Cover-Letter Writers Make?

  • Addressing the letter in a way such as “Dear Personnel Director,” “To Whom It May Concern,” “Dear Sir or Madam” (or worse, “Dear Sirs”) instead of a named individual.

  • “To Whom It May Concern” is quite inappropriate as it gives an impression to the employer that you candidate was not concerned enough to find out the name of the person with the hiring power.

  • The candidate should present himself in such a way that gives an impression of to the employer what exactly he/she can do for the betterment of the company and not certainly questioning the employer what the company can do for the candidate.

  • It has been noticed quite often many cover letters end with a line like this: “If you are interested in my qualifications, please call me.”

  • It’s far more effective in case the job-seeker requests an interview and promises to follow up with a phone call, better known as Proactive cover letters.

What Kind of Cover Letters Are Suitable?

  • The invited cover letter which is effective for just 20% of jobs are publicly advertised and is a kind of response to a want ad and therefore can be tailored to the job requirements listed in the ad.

  • The uninvited or cold-contact cover letter involves a mass mailing thereby asking the job-seeker to try and find out about each prospective recipient company.

  • The best idea is that of the uninvited letter which taps the “hidden” job market, where 80 percent of the jobs lurk.

  • The referral cover letter is another excellent way to tap the hidden job market and it uses name-dropping to get the employer’s attention.

  • When a mutual acquaintance tips a candidate off to a job, he/she can use his or her name to the advantage in a cover letter:

Is It Right to Mass-Produce the Same Letter to All the Companies for Which a Person is Interested in Working?

  • It is always a better idea not to Mass-Produce the Same Letter to all the Companies.

  • However one can use word-processing equipment that enables the candidate to personalize each letter.

  • Including at least one paragraph specifically revealing the candidate’s knowledge about each company.

  • Revealing how exactly a candidate can meet employer’s needs.

What’s the Most Important Thing That Needs to be Included in the Body of the Letter?

  • A candidate’s Unique Selling Proposition (USP).

  • An advertising term, the USP is the one thing that makes a candidate well qualified to do the job than anyone else.

  • The USP should answer the question: “Why should I hire this person?” Want more?

What Are Some Other Approaches to Make a Cover Letter Dynamic?

  • One can underline the qualifications, boldfacing them, or indenting them in a list with bullets.

  • A candidate can quantify the employer:

  • How many employers he/she supervised

  • How many customers he/she handled

  • How much money he/she saved for the company and most importantly,

  • By what percentage one has increased sales or profits.

  • Demonstrating creativity and potential for innovation thereby revealing how as an employee would improve the employer’s operation or bottom line.

Should References be Included in the Cover Letter?

  • References should not be given unless recruitment has asked for the same in the ad.

  • It has been observed quite often unless recruiters show interest in the candidate hiring they don’t pay much heed to the references.

What Should be the Length of the Letter?

  • The letter generally should not be longer than a page.

  • It’s in fact better to have less than a page.

  • About Four paragraphs is quite appropriate.

  • The first paragraph should grab attention by letting the employer know why you’re writing, and should reveal what as an employee a candidate can do for the company.

  • The second paragraph should introduce ones Unique Selling Proposition.

  • The third should further amplify the qualifications (without rehashing your resume).

  • The last paragraph should ask for an interview, telling how one as a candidate plan to follow up and thanking the employer for consideration.

  • Answering an ad may require another paragraph or two to reveal further about candidate’s qualifications to the job requirements.

  • The letter should be not only fairly short, but also concise and pithy.

What’s the Best Way to Ensure the Cover Letter is Well-Written and Right on Target?

  • A candidate should look at the Cover Letter from an employer’s point of view.

  • The candidate should note one thing from employer’s point of view why he should be given the job or why he/she think of himself/herself as the best person for the job.

  • As a job seeker one should check it out if the letter grabs and hold the needed attention.

    • Is it concise?

    • Is it free of typos, misspellings, and grammatical errors?

    • Is it interesting?

Are Thank-You Letters Necessary?

  • A thank-you letter usually doesn’t make any difference between getting the job and not getting the job.

  • However if a employer has to select between two equally qualified candidates, the one who sends a thank-you note just might have the edge over the one who doesn’t.

  • It’s common courtesy to thank the employer for taking time to interview a candidate.

  • Thank-you letter simply highlights the positive aspects of your interview.