Cover letters let you put across your voice and your personality to your potential employers and make them know you as more than just pointers on a resume. While a lot of job postings may list a cover letter as an optional document, it is regardless an important one. A well-written cover letter shows that the applicant did not mindlessly apply to the position but has taken the pain to go through the job description, research about the company, and come up with reasons to justify their intent for the application. However, writing a cover letter for each and every job application can be a tedious task. Considering that we all are but humans, it is understandable that with numbers, our quality of writing declines and we end up using a lot of cliches and redundant sentences to pace up our process. While this gets our job done faster, there’s no denying the fact that this reduces our chances of getting selected for the more the cliches and vague sentences there are in the cover letter, the more convinced are the employers that you are sending in an application just for the sake of it and have no real enthusiasm for the position. Hence, in order to make your potential employers take your application seriously, make sure you do not do the following things:
Do not write a second resume
A cover letter is a piece of documentation that compliments your CV/resume and fills in the gaps that they could not cover. In other words, a cover letter should include things that were not covered in the former. Do not make the mistake of repeating the same things that your resume already state excessively. Instead, write about the things that did not get mentioned in the resume but were an important factor in carrying out the tasks listed in your resume.
Do not be predictable
Do not write a monotonous cover letter. Rest assured that your “Dear Sir/Madam, I would like to apply to …” is probably the 173rd one your potential employers read today. Instead, be creative (but genuine). No, you do not need redundant embellishments in your letter, just some content that brings out your personality and makes you come across as an interesting and capable person. Talk about your passions apart from work. Tell them how your interest in cooking elaborate meals means that you have many transferable skills like attention to detail and patience which will help you in your work.
Do not use a gender-specific salutation
One of the graver mistakes that job applicants make while writing a cover is to use a gender-specific salutation. Do not assume the hiring manager’s gender and always go for gender-neutral pronouns and salutations. Also, do not write, “Dear Sir/Madam” since it is a very dated way of going about this situation. A simple “Hello” or “Dear <insert name>” is just fine. If the job posting does not have the hiring manager’s name mentioned, you can also go for “Dear Hiring Manager”.
Do not be too boastful/too timid
While it is encouraged to talk about your accomplishments in the cover letter, do not let it be boastful. Instead of listing your achievements tell the hiring manager how you worked towards them and how that might help you in your next job. Also, do not be too timid and underplay your achievements. International students and new immigrants applying for jobs in Canada often have the tendency to underestimate their achievements and capabilities only because they have more international experience than Canadian ones. Finding the right balance is the key to bagging interview calls.
Do not be Vague
I know writing 20 cover letters a day is a very tedious task. While templates work, you do have to be more specific about how you will be the perfect candidate for the job in each cover letter you write. Being too vague in the cover letter can make you look uninterested and under-researched and can cost you an interview call. Keep a template ready but do touch base about at least 3 things mentioned in the job posting itself.
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Source: UBC website