Knowledge of the types of cover letters we have, is fundamental when applying for a job. This is because using the appropriate document, will greatly ace your job search. In addition, cover letters can be used on different occasions. eg, you can use a cover letter to directly apply to a known job vacancy. Secondly you can use it, seeking job search help from people in your professional network.
A cover letter should be designed to match a particular purpose. If its a job application, make sure to customize it for that particular post. I strictly recommend avoiding the use of generic cover letters. This is when you use one cover letter to apply for every job opening. Note, Hiring managers can easily recognize generic letters or copied ones, due to the volume they review every year. Such documents will show lack of interest to the position and the organization. Such ignorance could result to your Resume being dropped without further review.
We have four major types of cover letters you might come across or required to write in your career path. First the Application cover letter, Second The prospective, third Networking and finally Referral cover letter. We will begin our discussion by explaining in detail each document. Later we will see how and when to use each document.
1. The Application cover letters:
Use this to respond to a known job opening (see example). It will tell the employer what job your seeking plus how you heard about the opening. Applicants should use this type of letter to sell their skills and experience to the prospective employer. This letter should should give a very short but concise summary of the applicants Resume. It should clearly show why the applicant is the perfect fit for the job in question. Trust me most Hiring managers will only use your cover letter, in the first stage of shortlisting. Especially, when they receive a large volume of applicant. Make sure you persuade the employer why he or she should hire you, instead of any other candidate.
The secrete of writing a successful application letter, is to ensure it summarizes your resume in detail. Read and understand the job requirements like we earlier discussed. ‘‘cover letter writing Tips‘‘. We said it should be three to four paragraphs, summarizing you skills and clearly showing what you have to offer. Please refer to our earlier discussion for more information.
2. The Prospecting / Inquiry cover letters
Used to inquire about possible job opening. (see example). A prospective letter is other times referred to as, Letter of Inquiry, or letter of interest. When you have an employer who could soon be hiring but hasn’t advertised any opening, its your best option. You can send a letter of Inquiry asking about possibilities of a particular position.
When writing this type of cover letter, first give a short description about yourself. Portray your self as an expectant candidate ready to deliver for the company of interest. Give a few practical examples of task that would interest you and why your the perfect fit candidate. Join me later in the discussion about this particular letter. We will use a practical example.
3. The Networking cover letters.
The Networking cover letter request information and assistance in your job search (see example) from your career network. I would refer this type as the oddest one out of the cover letter family. This letter is usually very short and less formal. A job seeker will send this type out to friends, family or any other contact in his career network asking for help. The help is usually job related.
This cover letter can be as simple as, the email message included when forwarding a resume to a friend. The message will be what you expect him or her to do with your CV. Other time you might be referred by a friend to a shortlisting manager hiring for a company. Never forward your CV with only a title ”CV for XYZ”. Regardless of how informal it might be, take your time to write a small formal message. That’s what a networking letter is.
4. The Referral cover letters.
This type is used to mention a mutual connection between people. ( see example). When applying for a job, you might request reference from a known employee to the company of interest. You might also seek reference from friends, or college in a position to add weight to your application. That’s when a referral cover letter comes in. Referrals give the hiring manager additional information of how you relate to the position your applying for. When writing this letter, make sure to include all skills and experience your referee can testify to. Lastly don’t forget to contact your referee and provide them with a copy of what they will be testifying to. This gives them a chance to know how to respond in case they are contacted by the hiring manager.
That brings us to the end of our discussion about the type of cover letters you might come across. In order to lock that job offer, Make sure you choose the right document for the right purpose. Finally share your thought via the contact form below how the information has helped you in particular or how we can make it better.