Cover letter for job application – Why, What and Sample format

cover letter

We all probably know about it. You would probably seen it when you apply for a job online. Many job portals ask you – if you want to include a cover letter along with your resume. Correct? In olden days when these online portals where not there we used to send the job application by email or post and in both the cases we used to include a cover letter. Hence it is a very important. Today I would talk about my experience with writing a perfect cover letter for your application.

What is a job cover letter

It is a tool to introduce yourself is a simple and concise manner. A well written cover letter can help you a lot. A cover letter is generally a half a page to one page letter written to introduce yourself in such a way that it generates the interest in the person who has posted this job to read more about you and your experience in the resume you have attached.

Writing a cover letter should be part of every job application and in general no job application mentions not to write any job cover letter. So it is expected to write one.

What should be included in job cover letter application

Remember it is not a detailed document about your career. So you should not try to include your complete experience details in it. For that purpose you have resume and in my next post I will also try to cover some wonderful resume formats. Your cover letter should be written carefully and in such a way that in half page to one page, you are able to tell below things

  1. What is the positive trait of your personality
  2. What educational and professional qualifications you have
  3. What is your job experience which is relevant to the job advertised
  4. And last but not least, how you will be able to add value to the job advertised and the organization which has advertised this job.

Point 4 is very very important. A well articulated point number 4 will generate the interest of the recruiter. Let us look at it in a bit details

Describe positive trait in your personality

When you are applying for the job, you are basically marketing yourself and hence you should talk about your positive traits some where in the cover letter and you have to be honest about it. Remember the people in HR are trained to look for certain traits and they are trained to judge. Hence write whatever you feel is your trait which can be beneficial for the job advertised.

Professional and Educational qualifications

Very briefly describe this. If you have done any certification or educational qualification which is relevant for the job you are applying, make sure that you mention that and also give your highest educational qualification. No need to give all school details like xth or xIIth marks etc. Just give the highest educational qualification and professional qualification. But yes do mention about any certification which is relevant for the job you are applying.

Job experience relevant to the job you are applying

Yes, this is very important. If you are applying for the job, then what experience you have for that. You should be mentioning that. So that the recruiter knows why they should hire you. What experience you bring on the table.

What value you will add to the job

And this was the most important point as I mentioned. What value you will bring on the table. Why they should hire you? and this should come out very clearly in the letter. This point will tell whether the recruiter will show further interest or will throw your resume away. So this is the most important point.

What you should not include in your Cover letter

  • Remember this is not your resume where you detail out all the experience and educational qualification. You only need to put the relevant ones
  • If you a re putting a company name make sure that the company name is not incorrect
  • Don’t try to fake any information. Be honest
  • Don’t include any salary expectations in cover letter. Keep it for HR round.
  • Do not provide any personal information that the recruiter doesn’t need to know.
  • Do not provide any information that is not relevant to the job
  • No negative comments on your current employer
  • No negative comments on your current boss
  • Don’t write any qualifications that you do not have
  • No need to mention why you want to change your current job. Keep this discussion for interview
  • Don’t use flattering language. Use professional tone.

Job Cover Letter Format

To be honest, there is no fixed format for a job letter. So you can follow any format which are comfortable with. but you need to make sure that you keep in mind the guidelines ie. the dos and donts which I have mentioned above. But still let me try to give a format to your cover letter. Or you can say the format I have used in my job applications or a good format which I have seen.

From my perspective there should be 7 sections essentialy

Section 1 – Header Section

This is generally the header section which has your name in bigger font. Then your phone number and email address. You generally have a header section in a word which you can utilize it for this purpose.

Make sure that you have a professional looking email address. email address like skstupid@xyz.com doesn’t look good while an email address like sandy.sharma@xyz.com is OK.

Section 2 – To whom it is addressed to

Whom you are addressing to. This is very important. It can not be ” To whomever it may concern” .. Find out the correct name of the recruiter or the hiring manager and you should enter that. Also make sure that you spell the name correctly.

Example:
Mr Mayank Sharma
Head of Data Analytics
ABC Company Pvt Ltd
Nehru Marg
New Delhi

Section 3 – Introduction

Start with why you are writing this letter. So you tell the recruiter about the position you gave seen and that why you are applying for it. Give a little but details about yourself in a unique way. This is the first paragraph and your chance to create an immediate impression.

Example:
Dear Mr Mayank Sharma, ( You can also write Dear Sir,)

This is with reference to your advertisement regarding the position of data engineer with in your data science unit. My name is Manish Kumar Mishra and I have the relevant training and experience and I feel that I can add a lot of value to your unit and organization and hence would like to apply for this position.

Section 4 – Details ( can be a couple of paragraphs)

In this section you can detail about why you feel you are perfect fit for the role. Give a brief about your qualification, experience and positive traits. Remember that this should be very concise.

Example:
I hold a master degree in computer science with a major in Artificial Intelligence and I am also a certified data science engineer by XYZ. I have 5 years of experience in developing products related to AI and Machine learning.
In my current role, I lead a team of 3 developers and we are working on developing product using R and Python. I am also part of innovation core team of my organization and I have worked on 3 different products which was greatly appreciated by our CEO.

Section 5 – Closing Paragraph

In this section, you re-emphasize the value you bring to the table.

Example:
I think the experience I have on these technologies like R, Python and and modelling tools like tool A, tool B and Tool C will add lot of value to the project you are running.

Section 6 – Call to Action

This is where you thank the recruiter for looking into your cover letter and also provide the contact details.

Example:

I am really excited towards this role and look forward to discuss this further with you. Should you have any questions, please write back to me at manish_k_mish@xyz.com or call me at 1234567889

Section 7 – Sign Off

And the you sign off

Example:
With Best Regards
Manish Mishra

Job Cover Letter Email Format

Now with changing times, there are many people who send an email as cover letter. So you don’t write the cover letter in a word document. But just write a email which serves as a purpose of cover letter and you attach resume with that.

Now this does not mean that the format of letter or the content of letter changes in any way. you still need all the steps except that you do not need to put the header section.

You directly start with Section 2 – To whom it is addressed to.


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Final Check

Proof read your cover letter as this is the first instruments of yours which will create an impression. If you are able to generate recruiters interest here, there are bright chances that you are going to get a call from the recruiter or the hiring manager. So before you submit your profile and cover letter make sure that

  • Your cover letter is free from any grammatical mistake. It may not look very important to you and you may think that small spelling mistakes dosen’t make much difference, but its not true.
  • Yor tone in the cover letter should be professional. Remember you are not writing letter to your friend.
  • You have done a through reading of the job requirement and your cover letter reflects your interest in the job , job area and the organization
  • Your cover letter is free from negative words and negative statements
  • Your cover letter is addressed to the write person.
  • The persons name and organizations name are spelled correctly
  • The cover letter is accompanied with the resume.

Conclusion

As I have mentioned before, your cover letter is the tool using which you create your first experience. So it should tell s story. A story which will make the person reading it, know more about you. That is very very important. And to know more about you, they need to go through your resume which has all the details. So it is very important that you articulate the cover letter quite well.

The information I have given above is as per my experience and I think it will be helpful for you guys and will help you in writing one of the best cover letters. Should you have any questions do not hesitate to write back to me at skumar@indiacareeradvice.com or leave your comments in comment box below. Have a great day.. you friend sanjeev

Sanjeev

Sanjeev

Hello Friends, my name is Sanjeev and I have been in the industry of education, training and mentoring for 20 years now. I love imparting what I have learnt and sharing my knowledge. I hope my articles benefit you. You can write to me at skumar@indiacareeradvice.com

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