When you apply for a job, the first thing that typically gets the headhunter’s attention is the cover letter. It must be professional.
It should provide a brief introduction of who you are and a succinct summary of what you can contribute to the organization. A simple and professional font like Times New Roman or Calibri in black font will do. Avoid jazzy or playful fonts so that the recruiter can get a sense of your professionalism, neatness and organization.
The cover letter should also be well-written and thought-out.
Here are 5 tips on how to write an effective cover letter:
- Show that you have researched the organization. It is not enough for you to address the needs of the organization based on the job description given. Do some research on the organization. Let's take HSBC as an example: Are they a local company or do they have offices in other regions or countries? If they are a small, local company, do they follow local customs and traditions? Think of their slogan: The world’s local bank. HSBC is a multinational company that personalizes its services according to local customs and traditions.
- Communicate what makes you a good fit for the job. Most companies need to be clear on exactly what you are capable of bringing to the table before they hire you. If you are familiar with the company based on your knowledge of its operations, emphasize how this knowledge can be an asset to the company. Let’s take the HSBC example further. Imagine that HSBC is looking for an analyst in its commercial banking sector. You can address their need for staff who can grow their commercial banking arm by emphasizing your financial background or experience in the cover letter. Why is this relevant? Your experience makes you familiar with what a business needs to grow. Emphasize this fact in your cover letter and what it can mean for the company.
- Be forceful. Forceful means you should go straight to the point. One way to keep your cover letter short but powerful is to present your most important quality first and how the company can use this quality to increase its growth. Refrain from being boastful, however.
- Inject personality into your cover letter. To show an upbeat personality, say what the company believes in and how it aligns with what you like. If a company occupies a pioneering position in its field, say something like, “The emphasis you place on innovation presents an exciting opportunity for me.” Keep flattery in check, though.
- Keep it short and simple. If you go straight to the point without excessive flattery, you will be able to make your cover letter short. This is important because there may be dozens more applying for the same job and the recruiter will most likely not have all day to read through a lot of text.
Your cover letter is an opportunity to briefly introduce yourself to the hiring manager. Make sure it is short but powerful so that he or she will want to read through your resume and take the discussion further.
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