Posted On06 Oct 2020
Updated On01 Jan 1970
What is the Purpose of a Cover Letter?
Some companies require a cover letter, some don’t. This secondary role is often the reason why the importance and purpose of a cover letter get ignored when crafting a resume.
Why are resumes important is pretty self-explanatory—these documents serve as a tool for showcasing your skills, knowledge, and experience of the job. While the magnitude of the resume is obvious, the same thing can’t be said about cover letters, and that’s why companies seldom ask for them.
But even when the company you’re applying for doesn’t ask you for a cover letter, it can be smart to complement it with a cover letter anyway. Resumes tend to be in-your-face and straight to the point. Certainly, they can use some easing into, and a cover letter serves as the perfect way to prepare recruiters and hiring managers for what’s to come.
What is a cover letter?
A cover letter is a short message sent with a resume where applicants introduce themselves and express their interest in the job position. It can contain additional information that elaborate or clarify items in the resume that can cause some confusion, such as a lengthy career hiatus or short stays at previous jobs. It can also be used to emphasize a referral, especially if that someone is in good standing with the company. It’s also an effective method for establishing rapport. In a nutshell, a well-written single-page cover letter allows you to elevate your resume from the rest of the heap.
What is the purpose of a cover letter?
Different companies place different values on cover letters. Despite the fact, the cover letter remains a useful document for getting noticed. That said, there can be more than one purpose of cover letter. Get to know them to help you understand its value.
To show that you’re ready, willing and able
Many cover letters start with “Thank you for the opportunity to apply for (job position) at your company…” Instead of using this tired statement to open your resume, say something like, “With my years of experience in the field, I am confident that I will be a great fit for the job.”
You can also try to touch on challenges that the company could be facing, and show recruiters your enthusiasm to tackle them by saying, “My background check on your company revealed that you are having trouble reaching your monthly targets. I would love to bring my expertise and success in sales to help you reach your profit goals.”
Employers want to see a candidate’s willingness because it tells them that you are highly motivated for the job. This is easily the most important purpose of a cover letter.
To entice the reader to learn more
The examples above serve as a stunning appetizer for a fantastic meal. But more than an introduction, the purpose of a cover letter is to let recruiters know that you have plenty to offer. In your opening paragraph, try to mix in an impressive achievement with quantifiable results. For example, you can say, “With my previous company, I spearheaded 10 employee training events, which resulted in a 30 percent increase in productivity for the company.”
That said, avoid repeating what you’ve already said in your resume. Your cover letter should simply act as a companion piece and not a replacement, so work on making it relate to your resume in an organic way. Repeating yourself will only make your resume less interesting, and possibly even cast doubts on your ability to pay attention to detail. Keep this cover letter purpose well in mind as you craft your letter and resume.
To elaborate on your resume
The cover letter is the perfect opportunity to define your personal brand, share more about your story, and demonstrate your core values. While your resume displays your qualifications, your cover letter can help convince a recruiter why you would be a good fit for the company. This is another key cover letter purpose. Try to list three to four reasons explaining why you’re the kind of candidate that the job needs.
Additionally, your cover letter is a great way to explain any glaring issues in your resume—such as a short work stint, employment gap, lack of experience, job-hopping, and so on—so that potential employers can have a better grasp of your situation and make considerations as they see fit.
To make your resume more personal
Establishing a good relationship with potential employers is critical to success, and one great purpose of cover letter is to help overcome the rigid, impersonal nature inherent in resumes. A cover letter can let your personality shine through, giving recruiters a better picture of you as a whole. That said, it’s important to emphasize in your letter the accomplishments that mean the most to you. By doing so, you give potential employers a better idea of the value you bring to the table.
To comment on a referral
Job referral is a great way to get a recruiter to give your resume a second look. You can use your cover letter to explain your relationship with the person who referred you and expounds on how the referral happened. Mentioning the name of someone in the company can give your resume a familiarity that helps keep it in the mind of the recruiter reading it.
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- 7 seconds: this is how long your resume has either to impress or be ignored by the recruiter
- 300+: average number of applications one corporate job opening posted online receives
- 3%: number of sent resumes that result in interviews
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