Cover letter plays a very important role in job hunting. Although the larger the organization, the less important a cover letter. In very large, highly structured organizations, cover letter may not matter. In medium ones, they 7do very well.
For unsolicited applications, cover letter may be so compelling that the company can even create a role for the applicant, or at least, keep him in mind. In one company I know, one UK-based Nigerian once wrote a powerful, very daring covering email to the Group CEO of a top Nigerian company and he found it so compelling that he blind-copied all the over 500 employees of that company in his response to the guy just to let his employees learn a lesson from the guy’s very unusual, bold email. He replied the guy that he had forwarded his (the guy’s) CV to his HR team to see if there was any relevant opening he could be invited for.
This a CEO, a very top guy in Nigeria, that will ordinarily not read, not to talk of acting on, emails from unknown folk (the guy must have researched the CEO’s email). That is the difference a powerful covering letter can make. It increases your chance of being listened to.
Whether unsolicited or advertised applications,cover letter can make huge difference. If the opening you are applying for is advertised and expressly states that you should include cover letter, you have to create a separate word document for it. Where it doesn’t make cover letter compulsory, the body of the email may be a very good avenue to sell yourself (cover email).
Bear these in mind while writing a cover letter:
1, Be daring. While you can easily use the popular title “APPLICATION FOR THE POSITION OF XYZ”, that may be too ordinary. Every other person will use it. You may want to be different. Come out very bold and confident. Be unconventional. Try a title like “A CASE FOR MY EMPLOYMENT AS XYZ IN ABC LTD” or “XYZ POSITION IN ABC LTD: WHY I FIT THE BILL”. Just something catchy enough to create curiosity and interest in you.
2, Sell yourself: Look, this is not about being proud, you’re selling yourself. Covering letter is a good opportunity to sell yourself instantly. Emphasize your achievements in previous endeavours and promise their company wont be different.
3, Use bullet-points: Bullet points make a piece of writing easy to read. Even if the reader doesn’t have time, he would still have an idea of what you’re talking about by just skimming through the bullet-points. Burying your points in wordy paragraphs exposes you to the risk that the reader will miss out key part of your message.
4, Mind your grammar: Watch things like spelling, subject-verb concord in your cover letter (or cover email). They can easily put off the reader. Spell-check the letter at least three times. Never use any word you are not sure of. Avoid verbosity.
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