Importance of Customized Cover Letters for Your Job Search
In generic terms, a cover letter is a document explaining the contents of another document or a parcel of goods. It may be printed document, an email message or document as an attachment.
In the context of job search, it is an email message or a document, submitted with a job application, explaining the applicant's interest in the position applied. For the sake of simplicity, I shall use the words “Cover Letter” for all its forms including emails, printed document or any message with CV as attachment. Employers use cover letters to screen applicants. It is the most important document in your job search.
In this article, we shall try address the Importance of Customized Cover Letters and explain the following:
- What is the purpose of writing a cover letter?
- What are the components of a cover letter?
- How should you format cover letters?
- Important references and links to be used in cover letters?
- What are common misconceptions about cover letters?
- Is it important to customize cover letters?
- How can you customize your cover letters?
- How ‘OWCareers Virtual Assistant to Find Jobs’ uses cover letters?
- About the Author
Let us start!
What is the purpose of writing a cover letter?
The purpose of a cover letter is to introduce yourself to an organization, demonstrate your interest in the company or a specific vacancy, draw attention to your resume and motivate the reader to learn more about you through your CV or LinkedIn profile. Often this letter is the first contact you have with a prospective employer. You can get free editable file from our collection of Sample CVs
Your cover letter tells your excitement about the position and explains what exactly can you do for this company and this role based on your previous experience. It tells the recruiter how your skills relate and not just stuffing it with keywords or repeating the content of your CV.
What are the components of a cover letter?
To make your application stand out, it is important that your cover letter has some important ingredients like:
- Customized Subject Line
- Proper Salutation
- Opening Paragraph and Job Reference
- Relevancy-to-Job-Applied Paragraph
- Closing Paragraph
- Links and Attachments
- No Images
I shall also write in detail about these components in a separate article. You may read our more Career and Jobs Blogs.
How should I format cover letters?
As your cover letter is the first impression you'll make on prospective employer, proper format is almost as important as you write in it. Formatting includes factors like font type, font size, font colour, line spacing, paragraph / section spacing and layout etc. A cover letter that has sufficient white space, a simple, reasonably sized and styled font, appropriate salutation, proper opening and closing will make a positive impression on your potential employers.
Here are some formatting tips to keep in mind when writing a cover letter:
Font choices: Most commonly used professional fonts are Times New Roman and Arial. Don’t use cartoonized or artistic or too-much-stylish fonts like Webdings or Hand-Writing-Styles as these are hard to read. Please don’t add emoticons or emojis. Normal font size is 10 to 13 point size.
Spacing: Your letter / email should be single-spaced. Include a space between every paragraph, and in general, a space between each section of the letter. Spacing should be consistent throughout the document / email.
- Proofreading: Make sure to avoid errors by carefully proofreading your letter. Use your word processor's spell check or ‘Grammarly Free Writing Assistant’ to catch common errors, and then consider having a friend review it—to catch additional errors or for writing or style improvements.
What are common misconceptions about cover letters?
A cover letter is a sales tool that, from the start, lets the reader know why you are sending your resume to them. There are many misconceptions among jobseekers, few of them are as follows:
Cover letters are a summary of resume content. It is absolutely wrong – no one wants to read the content twice.
A cover letter is optional. It is also wrong - even if you send your CV through blank email, it is your cover letter. So we strongly advise you to write proper email / message whenever you send your CV.
Generic cover letters are ok. It is also not correct. To be effective, each cover letter should be customized for each job post.
- It is written without targeting the position at all. It is also wrong – the most effective cover letters are the ones that address the particular job post and highlight why are you relevant for the position.
Is it important to customize cover letters?
When you customize your cover letter, you can show the benefits they will have in hiring you and not somebody else. You can present yourself as a professional specifically for them and their business. For example, let’s say a client is looking for a “LinkedIn Marketer” to assist with their marketing. A general cover letter would include a list of SMM skills that a professional may have and nothing special for LinkedIn. A customized cover letter will address the specific details of the job post like your experience in LinkedIn profiles, company pages, groups, updates, etc.
Now think for a minute – if you were the company, whom would you hire, the one with general SMM skills or the one who has expressed exactly relevant skills. Off course one with customized cover letter wins.
It does tend to create more work for you during your job hunt. But it is also the most important enhancements that you make in your job search. Just to give you an idea how important customization of cover letters is in terms of points:
- Without Cover Letter = 10 Points
- With General Cover Letter = 100 Points
- With Customized Cover Letter = 1000 Points
Why am I giving this much importance to customization? Following are the main points in support:
When you customize your cover letter, you show the recruiter that you care about getting the job.
When you customize your cover letter, you can explain exactly which job you are applying for and what are the most relevant experiences that can make you successful applicant. If you can relate your experience for the applied job, you take yourself among top 5 % most relevant applicants.
It takes a lot of effort and hard work to customize your cover letter properly. If you are willing to put that kind of extra effort to customize the cover letter, it is a demonstration that you will be willing to put an extra effort in the work when you get the job.
When you customize your cover letter, it’ll let the hiring manager know exactly what position you’re applying for and what you feel makes you special when compared with other candidates and it will make their job easier.
- When you customize your cover letter, you can point out features of your background that particular company would be interested in.
Important links to be used in cover letters?
There is an other important point highlighting the importance of cover letters - the ability to add links to important sources. You can use the following references in links in your cover letter:
- A link to your online profile like Bayt or LinkedIn
- A link to download your CV or other documents
- A link to the profile of your professional references
- A link to your work or presentations or other achievements or your YouTube channel
- A link to a website or other online resource
The properly referred cover letter will make the work of recruiter a lot easier and will help with online screening thus leaving a positive image of yourself and multiplying your chances of success.
How OWCareers Virtual Assistant can help with respect to cover letters for your job search?
Virtual Assistant is a service offer by OWCareers with the prime objective to search and apply on jobs on behalf of job seekers. Among many unique features of OWCareers, it also offers customized cover letters. Each application sent by OWCareers has a unique cover letter optimized to specifically address a particular job post. This feature enhances the response rate for our clients and puts OWCareers on top of job portals serving professionals. You can learn more by clicking on Virtual Assistant to Find Jobs - it is atleast 100 times more effective than premium service of any other job portal in the World.