What should the content of a cover letter be? As its name suggests, it should summarize the motivation that leads you to move one step further in your career. What should a cover letter look like ideally and what is worth putting in it?
It’s clear that HR will want to see your structured resume. But they may also ask you for a cover letter. What’s going on? Do not confuse the cover letter with the application, ie a short text, which you write in an empty field on the job portal. Here it is usually enough to enter only a few courtesy phrases and a brief explanation of why you are interested in the position.
A cover letter, on the other hand, is in a more comprehensive format where you explain in more detail why you are the right candidate for a particular job. Ideally you should fit it in three or four shorter paragraphs of text. Then save the document in PDF format and attach it together with your CV to respond to the job offer.
Create a letter tailored to the company
You should always write a cover letter based on the job position you are applying for. Therefore, it is advisable to find out as much information as possible about the company you are applying to and adapt the text of the letter to them. This allows the recipient to quickly assess whether you could be of real benefit to the business.
Are you interested in a position in a company that focuses on working with numbers? Then don’t forget to highlight your analytical thinking. If your job requires frequent contact with people, emphasize your communication skills. And if your employer requires the ability to work under pressure, list specific situations that show you can withstand tense moments.
The fact that it is appropriate to personalize a letter does not necessarily mean that you cannot have a certain skeleton of the text ready. On the contrary, general information about your skills and experience may remain the same, but it is always necessary to skillfully link it with how you could use it in the potential new place of work.
Of course, most HR professionals are actually looking for a person who is a team player, has a goal, is loyal and looks forward to every new challenge. But try to think about how to express these qualities without resorting to the most overused formulations from recruitment advertisements and motivational guides.
You can also express your ability to fit into the company in your own words. Although the result may not be full of superlatives, it can seem much more natural and sincere in the end. The truth is that HR professionals tend to be quite annoyed by cover letters that look as if they were passed through a photocopier, so they welcome every hint of originality and their own invention.
Show why you will benefit the company
Even if the cover letter is tied to you, it should not focus solely on you. It is important to put your skills into the context of the company in which you are applying for the position. Do you speak three languages fluently? This will be great for you when communicating with colleagues from foreign branches. Do you have a weakness for formulas and tables? This will definitely please a colleague who has a rash from Excel.
The HR specialist is always interested when they see that the candidate is not only thinking about themselves and their well-being, but in a broader context and about how specifically they could help the company grow. Therefore, do not formulate a cover letter as an ode to yourself, but rather try to come up with arguments about how your experience, skills and qualities could move the company you apply for forward.
An independent opinion may help you
Not everyone can empathize with the role of HR or recruitment agent. If you are wondering what information to highlight in your cover letter, contact an expert to help you. Consulting with a career counsellor can be beneficial in that you get the perspective of someone who will evaluate your career impartially and without unnecessary influences. And maybe thanks to that you will clarify which direction to go in your professional life.