Some people are of the view that cover letters are a thing of the past. That is definitely not true! Even though recruiters and hiring managers do not have much time to spare on each job application, they do end up spending about twenty seconds on each cover letter and less than a minute on the shortlisted resume. Both these documents are used by job seekers to sell their potential and skills in order to get shortlisted for the interview. Besides acting as a marketing tool, cover letter is important for another reason. It points out to the hiring manager what position you are applying for. If given certain considerations, you can powerful and effective cover letters.
Not too short, not too long
The length of the cover letter should not be more than a page and be comprised of a few paragraphs. It should be in the right letter-style format. The first paragraph should include the reason for writing and the mention of the position applied for. In the second paragraph explain your skills and credentials that would suit to the job applied for. Any other additional information that is not there in the resume, such as career gaps, might also be explained in the cover letter. Conclude by expressing your interest once more and your ability to perform the job best.
There should be absolutely no spelling or grammatical errors. Proofread the document at least twice to make sure proper language has been used.
There is no need to use varying fonts and colorful text. Plain white paper and black text with a business font such as Arial should be used.
There are thousands of templates available on the web but no matter how tempting and easy they are to apply, they must be avoided. Cover letters should be more personal. While this can be a tedious task to write a new cover letter for each application, it does pay off.
No mention of salary
This is a topic that can be discussed later at the interview stage. There is no need to mention current or expected salary and perks in the cover letter.
Mention accomplishments not responsibilities
For both the resume and cover letter, use words such as achieved, completed, delivered, enhanced, increased, improved and managed while explaining your job descriptions in the previous organizations.