What is a cover letter?
A cover letter is a letter that you send together with your resume when you apply for job. Do not underestimate this piece as it can be a great asset in your job search.
The purpose of the Cover Letter is to:
- Introduce yourself
- Sell your strengths and Display your value
- Describe your background and level of expertise
- Ask for an interview
The cover letter is a brief introduction, not your entire history so don’t try to include everything. Just make sure that these 4 points are addressed.
You should customize and tweak your letter for every single position, highlighting the skills and experiences that are most important to your target employers.
How should the cover letter be presented?
Cover letters are formal letters, and should be typewritten in black ink on white paper. Use Times New Roman or Arial as standard typefaces and maintain the font size at 10 points. Unless you are in the creative industry, it is advisable not to be too fanciful in presenting your Cover Letter.
How long should your letter be?
No more than one page – and I actually prefer to keep my letters as short as possible because less really is more to a busy recruiter. If the employer requests email resume submissions, you will be cutting and pasting your letter into the body of an email, and no one likes lengthy emails.
I recommend writing your letter following my detailed instructions and then editing several times to make the letter as short as possible.
How do you send your cover letter by email?
If you are emailing your resume, I recommend pasting your cover letter into an email and just attaching your resume. There is no need to send a cover letter as an attachment, although you can if you wish. If you do this, name your cover letter and resume clearly, so that recruiters can see which is which.
When you paste your letter into an email check to see how long it looks. If it looks too long to read at a quick glance, I recommend editing it down. We have all come to expect emails to be brief, so a long letter can be off-putting.