What is a cover letter?
Picture this: you find an opening for your dream job and begin crafting the perfect CV. Though you know you are the ideal candidate, you can’t help but feel that your resume isn’t compelling enough on its own. What you need is a cover letter! A cover letter is a single-page document submitted with your CV. It is an opportunity to introduce yourself, show your personality, and complement your CV by explaining why your experiences make you the best fit for the role. A well-written cover letter shows that you understand the requirements of the job and the mission of the company.
When should you avoid sending a cover letter?
If the description for the job you are applying for explicitly states not to include a cover letter, do not submit a cover letter. Sending a cover letter in this case shows your potential employer that you don’t pay attention to instructions, which can be a major red flag.
If you are nearing your application deadline and do not have time to craft a well-researched cover letter, do not attempt to throw together a vague letter in a few minutes. Doing so will likely hinder your prospects at getting an interview, as a hiring manager will easily be able to tell that you did not dedicate enough effort into your application. Keep in mind that having no cover letter is better than having a bad one.
Finally, if the job posting you are applying to is online and is unclear whether to include a cover letter, check if there is an option to submit more than one document before you begin writing a cover letter.
When is a cover letter beneficial?
Aside from the cases mentioned above, a cover letter is almost always beneficial. If a job posting does not make it clear that they want a cover letter, including one demonstrates your initiative and helps you stand out from the rest of the applicants. Writing a cover letter can also help prepare you for interviews, as it makes you recognize which aspects of your professional experiences you should focus on.
A cover letter is especially useful for two types of candidates: those with unconventional career paths and those who do not have a significant amount of relevant work experience. If you’ve taken some time off from work and you submit only a CV for your next job application, there’s a possibility that hiring manager may not consider you for an interview because they don’t have enough information about your time off. Utilizing a cover letter to describe your reasons for unemployment, and to express what you gained during that period can help put you back in the running. Similarly, if you’ve had many jobs in a short period of time, a hiring manager may see this as unappealing, but explaining why this was the case in your cover letter can help ease their doubts.
If you are a recent graduate or someone looking to make a career change, a cover letter is a suitable place to explain why you’ll be a good candidate despite not having as much experience as other applicants. It allows you to highlight your transferable skills and discuss what you can add to the company. It is also a chance to show off your communication and writing abilities, which are desirable skills for any role.
While writing a cover letter requires some effort, it is an opportunity to persuade a hiring manager to consider you. Why would you waste the chance?
Need more CV Advice?
With 10 years dedicated Emiratisation experience, Mark Williams expert consultants can polish your CV to make you stand out in this competitive marketplace. Once you have applied our top tips simply upload your CV to the Mark Williams website and you’ll receive an expert CV review and evaluation – free of charge!