Cover Letters Uncovered: Everything You Need To Know About Cover Letter Writing

Written by AutoApply

Nobody really enjoys looking for a job. Going through job ads online, making your CV look good, and getting ready for tough interviews isn’t enjoyable. For a lot of people, the hardest thing is writing a good cover letter. There’s a lot of different tips out there, and it can be confusing to figure out how to begin. You might even wonder if you need a cover letter at all, especially when you’re applying online.

Are you getting ready to apply for jobs and wondering about the cover letter part? If you’re asking yourself, “How do I write one of these?” or “Do people even read them?” – don’t worry; you’re not alone. This guide is all about making cover letter writing simple and stress-free. Let’s make your cover letter awesome and help you stand out! Ready to start? Here we go!

In this guide we are going to learn about:

  • Why you need a cover letter?
  • The significance of cover letter in securing a job
  • How to write a well-structured and persuasive cover letter

What is a Cover Letter?

A cover letter is a formal letter you send with your job application. The main aim of a cover letter is to supplement your CV. It helps the employer quickly understand how your skills and interests are a good match for the job. Essentially, your cover letter is there to persuade the employer that you’re the right person to call for an interview.

Think of it like the first page of a book. If it’s interesting, people will want to keep reading. Your cover letter works the same way. It’s your chance to make a great first impression and get the employer excited about looking at your CV. In the cover letter, you don’t just repeat what’s in your resume. Instead, you share a bit of your story. You can talk about a special thing you did at your last job, or why you’re so excited about the chance to work at this new place. It’s also a good spot to explain things that your CV doesn’t show, like if you took a break from working and why.

What Can a Cover Letter do for You?

A cover letter is like a quick picture of who you are and the things you’ve achieved. It tells hiring managers more about you – stuff that your résumé doesn’t cover. It’s not just about your past jobs, though. A cover letter also shows how good you are at communicating. It’s important for jobs where you need to be good at talking and writing. Plus, a cover letter can help you stand out. When an employer can’t decide between you and someone else, a great cover letter might just tip the scales in your favor.

In simple terms, even if they don’t read your cover letter, it still makes a good impression.

There are times when a cover letter is really needed. If you’re applying to a certain person, write a cover letter to talk to them directly. Also, if someone referred you for the job, mention their name in the cover letter – it could really help, especially if they’re well-known. And if the job ad asks for a cover letter, definitely include one.

But even in other cases, it’s a good idea to add a cover letter anyway.

Do You Need a Cover Letter?

Short answer: Yes. Even if it’s optional, a recent survey showed that 72% of bosses like to see a cover letter, and 77% think better of your resume if you include one. Also, 83% of the people hiring said a good cover letter can get you an interview, even if your CV isn’t that great.

A cover letter is really useful for explaining any gaps in your work history or big changes in the types of jobs you’ve had. Gaps in a resume don’t automatically mean you won’t get the job, but bosses usually want to know why they happened, like if you were let go or took a break by choice. Cover letters are also good for explaining why you might have switched to a totally different kind of job. But when you talk about these gaps or changes, it’s important to be clear but brief. Talking too much about them might make the recruiter worry. Just give them the basic info they need. Also, because of tough times like the recession and pandemic, which led to many people losing jobs, recruiters understand more about gaps in work history now.

What to Include in Your Cover Letter?

Your cover letter goes with your resume. Keep it short – one page is best because people might not read the second page. In the cover letter, tell the employer how you can do the job, why you want to work for them, and a bit about who you are. Share a story from your past job that shows how you helped out. At the end, say something like, “I hope to hear from you” or “I’m excited to learn more about this job,” and don’t forget to put your contact info.

Before you write your cover letter, do some research about the company. You need to know if the job is right for you, and if you’re right for them. This means looking up more than just their website. Check out their competitors, any big news about them, their clients, and what kind of people already work there. Use the job description to make your cover letter fit the job, especially using the right words so it gets past any computer screening (like ATS).

A good cover letter can make you stand out, but a bad one can hurt your chances. Your cover letter should show you’ve read the job ad, understand the job, and know how your skills match what they need. Plus, knowing a bit about the company can really help you stand out.

Still having trouble writing down your cover letter? We are here to help you. AutoApply’s Cover Letter Builder is a game-changer in the job application process, offering a range of features designed for customization, efficiency, professionalism, and ease of use. Our Cover Letter Builder is not a one-size-fits-all tool. It allows you to create a cover letter that is as unique as you are. With customizable options, you can tailor your cover letter to match the specific job you’re applying for. This means that our AI-powered tool highlights the aspects of your experience and skills that are most relevant to each position, ensuring that your application stands out.

In today’s fast-paced world, saving time is crucial. AutoApply understands this, and that’s why our tool is designed to help you create a professional cover letter quickly. Instead of spending hours trying to perfect your cover letter, you can now produce one in a fraction of the time, allowing you to apply to more jobs, faster. The cover letters generated by AutoApply are not just quick and personalized; they are also of a professional standard. This ensures that your first impression on potential employers is a strong one. With the one-click feature, creating a cover letter has never been easier. This user-friendly approach makes the daunting task of writing cover letters straightforward and hassle-free. The best part? Our Cover Letter Builder is designed to complement the CV you’ve created using AutoApply’s CV Builder tool. This means your cover letter and CV will be harmonized in style and content, presenting a cohesive and polished professional profile.

How to Structure Your Cover Letter?

The usual cover letter is about 250 to 400 words, and it’s like a sales pitch for your resume. Think of your resume as a list of your past jobs, skills, and what you’ve learned. It’s just the facts. But a cover letter is different. It’s a letter where you explain how you plan to use your experience and skills to help the company you want to work for.

A well-written cover letter should be structured as follows:

Here are some KEY INGREDIENTS for writing a great cover letter:

1. Mention the job title you’re applying for and highlight your relevant skills for the role. Share your top 2-3 achievements that will help you excel in the new job. Explain why you’re excited about working for this company. Is it their products, culture, or mission?

2. Be Personable- Treat the cover letter like a personal note to the recruiter. Show them why you’re the perfect fit for the job.

3. Use Eye-Catching Templates – Stand out with AutoApply’s attractive cover letter templates.

Key Elements to Include in Your Cover Letter?

Forbes Human Resources Council members give 20 tips on making your cover letter stand out and increase your chance of getting an interview. We have handpicked a few for your ease.

Make Your Cover Letter Specific to the Job

When you’re asked for a cover letter, use it wisely. Show the employer that you’ve done your research and really understand the job. Add your own personal touch and make sure what you write is related to that particular job. Employers should also make an effort – maybe ask applicants to write something creative or different. That way, both sides are putting in the work to make the application interesting.

Show Who You Are

Use your cover letter to talk about your past successes and how they can help the company you want to work for. Make sure these examples really fit the job you’re applying for. Your cover letter is also a good place to show a bit of your personality. Being a bit unique can grab the attention of the person hiring and help you stand out.

Tell Your Unique Story Well

It’s key to write a cover letter that tells a special story about you. This story should clearly show what you’re good at, your work history, how excited you are, what makes you different, how much you know about the company, and how you fit with what the job needs. Make each letter different, keep it short, check for mistakes, and don’t forget to include how to contact you.

Your Cover Letter is Your Mission

Think of your cover letter as telling your professional mission – not just what you can do, but why you do it. In a job market full of qualified people, show what makes you different. Share your enthusiasm for the company and how your values fit with their mission.

Show You Know the Company

A great cover letter shows you really know the company you want to work for and why you’re a good fit. Don’t be too general. Spend time researching the company, understand what they do, and explain why you belong there.

Show How Your Skills Can Be Used in Different Ways

In today’s fast-changing job world, being able to use your skills in different jobs is really important. In your cover letter, talk about the skills you have and how you can use them in various roles. It’s also good to show that you like learning new things. This way, you can change and grow along with the company.

Stay Active on Social Media, Like LinkedIn

Cover letters and resumes are becoming a bit old-fashioned. One important thing you can do is keep your LinkedIn profile full of information and up to date. Be active on social media, maybe write articles or posts. You could also make a short video about why you’re great for the job and add it to your application.

Clearly Say What Makes You Special

In your cover letter, it’s important to talk about what special thing you bring to the job that nobody else does. This isn’t just repeating your resume. It’s about telling a story of how your unique skills and experiences make you perfect for the job. Doing this well can really make you stand out. What’s different about you? What’s your special skill?

Show How You Fit With the Company

In your cover letter, connect your skills and experiences to the company’s goals and values. This helps the person reading it see how you fit with what the company believes in and wants to achieve. Also, talk about how you would handle problems or challenges at the company. This shows how valuable you could be as a new employee.

Pick the Right Way to Send Your Application

Cover letters might be old-fashioned, but they can still be useful. They show how your values and skills match the job. But remember, a lot of cover letters aren’t read very carefully. If you’re applying for a writing job, a traditional cover letter is a good idea. Otherwise, you could try something different, like a short, fun video that shows your personality and how you fit the job.

Work on Your Online Presence

You might still be asked for a cover letter, but your online profiles can talk more about you. Make sure your LinkedIn and other social media look professional and are ready to impress. A cover letter is okay, but your online profiles show more of your story.

Promote Yourself and What Makes You Unique

If a company asks for a cover letter, they’ll probably read it. Use it to show who you are, how you fit the job, and what unique thing you bring that sets you apart from others.

Cover Letter – The Don’ts

Writing a cover letter can be a pivotal part of your job application, but it’s easy to make missteps. Here’s a comprehensive list of “Don’ts” to keep in mind while crafting your cover letter:

Don’t Use a Generic Template: Avoid the one-size-fits-all approach. Recruiters can easily spot a generic cover letter, and it often suggests a lack of effort or genuine interest.

Don’t Repeat Your Resume: Your cover letter should complement, not duplicate, your resume. Rehashing the same information can bore the reader and waste an opportunity to showcase different aspects of your qualifications and personality.

Don’t Overlook the Basics: Simple errors in spelling, grammar, or formatting can leave a negative impression. Always proofread and ensure your cover letter is neatly formatted.

Don’t Skip Customization: Tailor each cover letter for the specific job and company. Show that you’ve done your research and understand what the role entails.

Don’t Be Overly Formal: While professionalism is key, overly formal language can seem stiff. Aim for a professional yet conversational tone.

Don’t Undersell Yourself: Avoid phrases that undermine your skills or experiences. Be confident in what you bring to the table.

Don’t Use Clichés: Phrases like “team player” and “hard worker” are overused. Be specific about your skills and experiences.

Don’t Forget to Include a Call to Action: End with a statement that encourages a response, such as expressing your enthusiasm for a potential interview.

Don’t Ignore the Company’s Culture: Reflect the company’s culture and values in your cover letter. This shows that you’re a good cultural fit.

Don’t Address it Incorrectly: If possible, find out the hiring manager’s name and address the letter to them. Avoid generic salutations like “To Whom It May Concern.”

Don’t Skip Research: Lack of company knowledge can make your cover letter feel shallow. Show that you understand the company and its industry.

Remember, your cover letter is your opportunity to make a meaningful first impression. Avoiding these common pitfalls can help you craft a compelling and effective cover letter that enhances your application and showcases your suitability for the role.

In the modern job market, many companies use Applicant Tracking Systems (ATS) to manage the overwhelming number of applications they receive. This technology helps to sort, scan, and rank resumes and cover letters based on specific criteria set by the employer, like skills, qualifications, and experience. This is why creating an ATS-friendly cover letter is crucial.

Why Your Cover Letter Needs to be ATS-Friendly?

An ATS-friendly cover letter ensures that the system recognizes and accurately interprets the information you provide. If your cover letter isn’t formatted for ATS, there’s a risk it might not be read at all. ATS systems are programmed to pick up specific keywords related to the job. By optimizing your cover letter with relevant keywords, you align your application more closely with the job requirements. ATS compatibility is often seen as a reflection of your tech-savviness and ability to follow modern professional standards. It shows that you’re up-to-date with current job application processes.

An ATS-friendly cover letter ensures that your application makes it past the initial electronic screening, giving you a better chance at being considered by a human recruiter. Customizing your cover letter for each application is vital. ATS systems can identify generic, one-size-fits-all cover letters, which may negatively impact your application.

How AutoApply’s Cover Letter Builder Makes This Easy

AutoApply’s Cover Letter Builder is designed to simplify the process of creating an ATS-friendly cover letter.

1. Keyword Optimization: The builder is programmed to suggest industry-specific keywords and phrases based on the job you’re applying for. This ensures your cover letter aligns with what the ATS and employers are looking for.

2. Appropriate Formatting: Our tool automatically formats your cover letter in a way that’s easily readable by ATS systems. This means avoiding graphics and other elements that could confuse the ATS.

3. Customizable Templates: AutoApply offers a range of templates that are pre-designed to be ATS-friendly. This takes the guesswork out of structuring your cover letter.

4. Content Suggestions: The builder provides content suggestions that help you articulate your experiences and skills in a way that resonates with both ATS systems and hiring managers.

5. Integration with CV Builder: Our Cover Letter Builder works seamlessly with our CV Builder, ensuring consistency between your cover letter and resume – a factor that’s beneficial for ATS processing.

6. User-Friendly Interface: The intuitive interface guides you through the process of creating your cover letter, making it easy to input and customize your information.

An ATS-friendly cover letter is no longer just an option but a necessity in the modern job search. It’s crucial for ensuring that your application gets through the initial digital screening and into the hands of a recruiter. AutoApply’s Cover Letter Builder is designed to assist you in creating a cover letter that meets these technological demands while also allowing you to showcase your unique professional profile effectively.

Alright, that’s a wrap on our complete guide to cover letter writing! Remember, your cover letter is your chance to show a bit of your personality and explain why you’re the perfect fit for the job. Keep it short, sweet, and to the point. Use our tips to make sure it stands out, feels personal, and hits all the right notes with potential employers. And hey, don’t stress too much. With a bit of practice and some creativity, you’ll be whipping up awesome cover letters in no time. Good luck out there, and happy job hunting!

Job Seekers

Professional Development

Craft a Winning CV: AutoApply’s Manual Builder Guide.

Craft a Winning CV: AutoApply’s Manual Builder Guide.

Welcome to the realm of personalized CV creation with AutoApply’s Manual CV Builder – a tool designed to put the power of storytelling in your hands. In today’s competitive job market, a CV is much more than a list of your experiences; it's the narrative of your...

Career Counseling