With practically a million Filipino graduates every year joining the pack of job-hunters, finding suitable work is no longer a matter of patience, perseverance, and experience. The job search has evolved into an art form. Instead of merely sending a resume, you need to find ways to set your application apart from the large pool of applicants competing for Philippine jobs. One of the ways to do this is by creating cover letters that will impress hiring managers
A cover letter is a one-page document that you send with your application papers outlining the position you desire, your credentials, experience, the reason you are interested in working for the organization, and other valuable information. You can liken a cover letter to a blurb since it acts as a “promotional material” that can help you stand out from the competition.
If you are applying for an in-demand position, a well-written cover letter could mean the difference between getting a job interview or having your resume put at the bottom of the pile. This is why you should make an effort to compose a well-thought-out letter that will give you that edge you need. To help you out, here are several cover letter writing tips that you may want to take into consideration.
Make It Professional
Keep in mind that a cover letter follows the format of a business letter. You need to include a formal salutation, closing, and signature, in addition to observing a standard margin of 1 inch on all sides of the paper if you’re sending out a physical copy. Use a font that matches the lettering on your resume so that both will appear more professional, consistent, and put together.
Also make sure that your letter is readable. Use a font size of 12 and insert a space between the header, salutation, every paragraph, and your closing. While it is essential to keep everything on one page, make it a point to avoid overcrowding and leave just enough white space so that the recruitment personnel will find your cover letter easy on the eyes.
Customize Your Letter
Instead of merely copying a sample cover letter off the internet, you should strive to customize every document you send out according to the position you are applying for and the company you want to join. Making your letter more personalized shows your attention to detail and genuine interest in joining the organization. On the contrary, handing out a generic document, while convenient, sends a message that you tend to take the easy way out.
When customizing your cover letter, be sure to ponder on the job description so you can highlight the strengths that make you suited to the particular post. For instance, if you are applying for a public affairs job, you may want to stress your lobbying skills that can help bring in more funding partners for the organization.
Keep It Short and Sweet
Remember that your cover letter is not a resume written in paragraph form. As mentioned earlier, you should treat it like a blurb. Write something short that will make the reader (the hiring manager or personnel) excited to browse your credentials and learn more about you. If you overwhelm the reader with too much information, you will likely get their attention, but in a negative way.
Recruitment officers must go through numerous application documents. Be considerate and keep your cover letter focused on essential information. Around 200 words is a good limit to aim for in terms of word count.
Provide What the Employer Is Looking For
When writing a cover letter, consider putting yourself in the shoes of your prospective employer. That way, you will have a better idea about what they are looking for in a candidate and you will be able to compose a cover letter accordingly. As a general rule, it is best to include specific skills, experiences, and accomplishments that are relevant to the post and offer value to the company.
Let’s say you are interested in a post for a non-profit organization that does charity work. If your exposure is mainly in the commercial sector, you may want to explain your reasons for wanting to transfer to a charitable institution. You may also include specific skills and experiences you acquired in your past jobs that will help further the organization’s mission and vision.
Support Your Statements with Concrete Achievements
Impress the hiring manager by backing up what you are saying with concrete examples of your achievements. Note that writing about your problem-solving skills does not mean much by itself. However, if you support it with a story of how you received an award for coming up with a cost-saving measure that allowed for more in-house training for your department, it will undoubtedly have more weight to it..
Do Not Forget to Proofread
If you are writing multiple cover letters at once, it is easy to commit a mistake. The last thing you want to do is send a letter with a misspelled company or employer name. How would you feel if you were the one hiring, and the candidate applying for a job and bragging about how great they are could not even write the name of your organization correctly?
As with your resume, be sure to proofread and edit your cover letter before sending it out. Make a copy and read it aloud so that you can readily catch typographical mistakes, missing words and punctuations, and grammatical errors.
Sending a cover letter is no longer optional as most hiring managers use this document to screen job applicants. Write a well-composed message that excites, and you will definitely increase your chances of landing an interview or even a position in the company. That said, you should exert time and energy to ensure that your cover letter shines and leaves a positive first impression.