Yes, always write a professional cover letter. If you don’t include one, any chances you might have of securing that dream job will dramatically decrease. But there is one exception! The only time you shouldn’t attach a professional cover letter to your application is if the job advertisement specifically asks you not to.
Employers have to sift through hundreds of applications to find ‘the one'—hence the need for parameters. And if you can't follow the simple instructions set out in the job advertisement, then how likely are you to follow instructions in the workplace?
6 Quick Tips on the Go
Your resume is hot off the press, and you’ve found a job ad that gets your heart pumping. The only thing left to do is whip up a cover letter that will capture a recruiter’s attention and make them want to know more about you. Sounds great, right? But where do you start?
Step 1. Match your cover letter to the job
Show recruiters you are interested in the organisation, that you understand what the job involves, and that you know how you can be an asset to them. Tailor every cover letter to show how your skills match the requirements of this job. Do some research on the company and its personnel and know who you’re addressing your application to.
Step 2. Get the basics locked down
Double, triple, and quadruple-check your name, your contact details, your recruiter’s details, and the job title to ensure they are accurate and free of errors. Attention to detail matters more than you might think.
Step 3. Introduce yourself
Use the opening paragraph to introduce yourself, set the tone of your letter, and state the title of the role you’re applying for.
Step 4. Flesh out the basics
Show the recruiter exactly how your skills meet the organisation’s requirements, so they know you’re a suitable fit. Make it easy for recruiters to get the information they need and speak the organisation’s language. Do they want someone with knowledge of a specific software? Do you use that software? Show them!
Step 5. Ask them to read your resume
What you ultimately want out of this is an interview, so something as simple as "I have attached a copy of my resume and look forward to hearing from you about this exciting role" can be effective. Show you are interested!
Step 6. Close well
Manners are key. End every cover letter by thanking your reader for their time and signing off in a professional manner.
Click here to view a sample of a cover letter.
There you go—six quick tips to get you on the way to an engaging professional cover letter. Need more? You can find EVERYTHING you need to know about how to write engaging cover letters for resumes right here, and a handful of helpful tips on how to avoid some common cover letter traps. Good luck! Oh, and after you've sat through an interview, don't forget to send a post interview thank you letter—it will set you apart from the pack.