Writing a cover letter
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Recruitment portals allow applicants to write a couple of words in addition to their resume. Sending it directly to the email of the HR department, the candidate also faces the need to write something to the potential employer. It is not always clear how this cover letter should look like: a brief retelling of the resume, a recognition of the company’s love or an informal story about oneself.
A letter can be beneficial to complement and clarify your main document for employment – a resume. It is also a good way to show your interest as a position, convince an employer to invite you to an interview, and generally increase the likelihood of a positive decision.
- A cover letter can be sent to the employer before the resume itself in order to scout the mail and offer your services.
- You can also send the letter after sending a CV to clarify some points, convince an employer to invite you for an interview, and show why you should be hired.
- Or you can submit the letter after the interview to express your gratitude and thereby increase your chances.
A cover letter is a document, and like any document, it has its own rules of compilation.
What is a motivational (cover) letter?
A motivational letter is an explanatory, supplementary, service letter to the attached documents when applying for a job or a letter attached to a package of documents sent to someone (counteragents, business partners, etc.). In other words, this is a supporting document that complements the CV.
Cover letters are written when applying for a job or when sending documents for admission to higher institutions. Some places will simply not consider the applicant without the accompanying letter.
Why are the letters needed?
The task of the CV is to provide basic information about the objectives of the job search, the conditions the candidate is seeking, his experience, and skills. The structure of the CV is often regulated and does not provide an opportunity to show the identity of the person who makes it. The task of the cover letter is to provide information about the candidate’s motivation, as well as information that does not fit into the standard CV form.
- A motivational letter is an opportunity to stand out, highlighting your interest in the vacancy. HR managers get hundreds of CVs per day, but many candidates do not even read the text of the vacancy and are not interested in making efforts to find work. Therefore, many are eliminated. The person who writes the motivational letter demonstrates that he is able to make efforts to get a job.
- A letter gives you the opportunity to demonstrate your qualities and key achievements. An elementary example – you were given the cost of baking a cake. Is it enough to make you want to buy it? And if you’re given a brochure about the ingredients of cakes, the confectioners who bake them, how the delivery works, and if there are bonuses for regular customers, does this increase your desire to buy a cake?
How motivational letters work
Having not yet read the CV, the employer looks at the motivational letter, which can tell a lot about you and your desire to get this job. It’s recommended to write motivational letters for companies that really impress you in order to motivate the employer to take you for this or that job.
Motivational letters work the best for specialists without work experience. Such vacancies receive the greatest number of responses and candidates need to stand out among competitors. Usually, in novice specialists, HR managers estimate motivation for 80% and about 20% for knowledge (because it doesn’t yet exist).
A letter is an opportunity to show your motivation and desire to work before the interview.
In addition, in the cover letter, you can show your achievements.
Specialists with experience also use cover letters. In them, you can demonstrate achievements or important nuances for future work.
How to correctly make the letter
Let’s start with the main thing. Why do we write motivational letters? The task of this document is to draw attention to your resume, to force the recruiter to carefully read it, and become interested in your candidacy.
In this case, the wording should fit within the framework of generally accepted ideas about business correspondence. Creativeness and humor are acceptable only if you do not doubt the relevance and quality of your ideas and jokes. However, there is one nuance. If you are applying for a position in a creative team, then deviations from the business style are quite appropriate. A non-standard (but interesting and literate) cover letter may interest the employer.
What should you report in the cover letter? Experts identify several points that should be adhered to.
- It is very important to correctly address the addressee. As a rule, vacancies posted online contain information about the contact person – the HR manager who directly oversees the vacancy. It is best to address the letter directly to him. “Hello, Helen!” “Dear James McCarthy” – the usual formulations are quite appropriate. If a specific employee is not listed, you can use the standard courtesy formulas: “To whom it may concern”. Experts warn against informal appeals that are not peculiar to the business style of the letter.
- Also, it is customary to indicate the source of information about the vacancy: “On the page of your company in the social network it is reported that you need a sales manager”, “From your staff member, IT specialist Paul Twist, I learned that you have a 1C programmer’s vacancy”. However, if you are submitting your CV through a recruiting portal, there is no need for it – it is clear for the recruiter where you got the information about the job.
- Now to the point. In several sentences (briefly and clearly), you need to state who you are and why you want to work in this company. However, you do not need to retell your CV – it is important only to emphasize the most important thing – what distinguishes you from other candidates. As a rule, this is work experience and professional achievements. For example, “My experience in the PR field is 4 years. At my current job, I managed to double the number of publications about the company in the media under the previous budget. The job in your company attracts me with the scope of tasks and the opportunity to work in a creative team”. The recruiter interested in your qualities will open and carefully study your CV.
Experts warn not to write about your career ambitions in a motivational letter. This can scare off the recruiter because at the moment, he needs to find someone for a specific position, and not replenish the staff reserve of top managers with your candidacy. So, it is better to remove the phrase such as “Working in your company attracts me with the opportunity of career growth”.
Do not need to focus on the dubious places in your resume if there are any. For example, it’s better to explain at an interview why you didn’t work for some time. A motivational letter is not a confession or a detailed autobiography. It’s a short business self-presentation.
Avoid platitudes such as “I am easily learnable, sociable, and stress-resistant” – this is mentioned in a lot of summaries and letters, so many recruiters do not pay attention to such template phrases.
At the end of the letter, do not forget to add that if you’re interested in my candidacy, you are ready to come to the interview and answer all the questions. In addition, you must subscribe and indicate your contacts. Of course, this data is in the summary, but these are the rules of business etiquette.
Pay attention to the description of the vacancy
What qualities are especially valuable for the employer? What duties does work involve? Proceeding from these nuances, edit the summary so that it reflects exactly these aspects.
- Write in the cover letter that you want this particular position. Write how much you want this position. Describe how you are striving for this. This is especially true for those who do not yet have work experience, but really want to get some.
- View information about the company and find out in whose name to write a motivational letter. Sometimes this is indicated in the vacancy, and sometimes it is necessary to look on the internet or call the company. The thing is that the address letter has more chances to be noticed.
- Write how you know about this position (found on a website, in a newspaper, magazine, etc.).
- Write how you want to work in this company. Any employer would like his employees to be known as fans of his firm. If you want to work in a company, for example, because you are impressed by its reputation, activities, location or anything else, write about it. For example, I admire companies that are ready to develop and train young professionals, which I write with pleasure in my motivational letters.
- Write about yourself. Highlight the most important things. What you write should clearly answer the question “Why you should you hire me” or “Why am I the best employee for this position”. Do not over-praise yourself, be objective enough, but use confident words. The wording should be clear and competent. It is not necessary to rewrite the information from the CV but it is worth mentioning exactly those qualities that are of interest to this particular employer.
- Express gratitude for reading your letter. Sign the document.
Criteria for a successful letter
- It should be short enough, about half a page or a little more.
- In a letter, you must look confidently into the future. Write only about good things.
- It should be literate and error-free. It’s good, when the letter is read, even better, when it is read by professionals in your field of activity or by HRs. Finding these people is easy – social networks will help you.
- The letter should be nicely formatted. A beautiful document is more pleasant to read, besides, it says about your skills to format the documents.
- The file should be saved with the company name (so you can find it and read it before the interview) in a separate folder. This will help you in the course of time to raise information – which companies you sent CVs and what they wrote.
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