A cover letter is normally the first contact point between
an employer and a job seeker. It serves the purpose of
providing a summary of why a candidate is suitable for a job
(cover-letter) and his relevant qualifications or
An Effective Cover Letter
An effective cover letter is a 1-page introduction of your
resume that has the ultimate goal of helping the job seeker
get the first interview from a job advertisement. This is
easier said than done as HR Managers have to go through
quite a number of job applications. If your cover letter is
rather formulaic and your only concern is that the printing
is smudge-free, then here are more useful tips:
Explain why you are sending a resume
Don't send a resume without a cover letter.
Don't make the reader guess what you are asking for; be
specific: Do you want a summer internship opportunity, or a
permanent position at graduation; are you inquiring about future
Tell specifically how you learned about the position or
a flyer posted in your department, a web site, a family friend
who works at the organization. It is appropriate to mention the
name of someone who suggested that you write.
Convince the reader to look at your resume
The cover letter will be seen first.
Therefore, it must be very well written and targeted to that
Call attention to elements of your background
education, leadership, experience — that are relevant to a
position you are seeking. Be as specific as possible, using
Reflect your attitude
personality, motivation, enthusiasm, and communication skills.
Provide or refer to any information specifically requested
in a job advertisement that might not be covered in your resume,
such as availability date, or reference to an attached writing
Be careful to direct your resume to the right person. If you
address the wrong person in your cover letter, you may not
get a response. Along the same lines, quote the correct reference
number that is highlighted in job advertisement and ensure
that you have applied for the correct position that corresponds
to your expertise.
In you cover letter, you should just state your highest relevant
academic qualification. You need not get into the specifics
like the grades of your final semester. An exception is if
you have won an academic prize or attained a prestigious scholarship.
The rest of your academic achievements can be placed after
your cover letter.
Relevant Working Experience and Skills
You can include a paragraph in your cover letter about how
your relevant working experience will directly benefit the
goals of the department. In this area you have to spend time
researching about the company through the internet and offline
Be A Team Player
Your cover letter must not come across as an opportunity to
highlight your achievements in isolation. You must communicate
that you are a team player and are willing to undergo continual
With the current workplace interconnectivity, it will not
be surprising if your job requires occasional overseas trip.
If you are agreeable of this requirement, it will be appropriate
if you state your willingness to travel overseas in the cover
Do a Spell-Check
Remember to run a spell-check to ensure that there are no
grammatical mistakes in your cover letter. A good exercise
is to print out a draft copy and scrutinize for mistakes.
Get that First Interview
This point sounds rather superfluous but your cover letter
has to help you get an interview. It will not help if you
provide a wrong contact number or appear to be too busy to
come for an interview.
Do not be Critical
Do not be critical about your previous employer or your previous
work environment. It is more forward-looking and professional
to explain about how your previous job has provided you with
relevant working experience.