If you are considering going looking for a job, one of the most daunting tasks you will be facing on your job-search endeavor is probably the task of writing an application cover letter.
Your application cover letter is, after all, the first thing about you that an employer sees; and depending on how you present yourself on the cover letter, the employer could decide to call you for an interview straight away (without even looking at your curriculum vitae) or decide to put your whole document into the ‘trash bin’ straight away, without even looking at the rest of your presentation, having decided that from the look of your application cover, ‘there is simply no business they can do with you.’
Before even starting to consider how to write an application cover letter then, it is important to consider what the aim for writing such a letter is, and keep that aim in mind all through as you go about writing the application letter. The people who write ineffective application cover letters, the types of application cover letters that end up in the trash bin straight away, tend to be those who approach the whole task assuming that it is a ‘formality’ to get done away with as soon as possible – and proceed with the rest of the job searching endeavor.
The truth of the matter, however, is that writing an application cover letter is not just a formality. Writing an application cover letter is in fact, as mentioned earlier, one of the things that could end up making or breaking your job search endeavor.
So the first step in writing an application cover letter should be deciding – and keeping in mind – why it is that you are writing it, which by default should be to attract the employer enough to look through the rest of your job-search document (resume, CV and so on), and get them to invite you for an interview at the end of it all.
The second step in writing an application cover letter is choosing a format for it. Ideally, you should opt for a format that presents you in the best light, in view of the job you are considering applying for. If you are applying for a job where formality and conformity are the basic desired attributes, the basic format application letter format might be ideal for you, whereas if you are applying for a position where independence and creativity are the most desirable attributes, the more detailed essay-like application letter formats are more ideal.
An ideal introductory line for your application cover letter is where you start with a reference to the advertisement or whatever it is that is making you seek employment in question (if its due to a newspaper or online advert) for instance, and the date when the same appeared.
You need to go on, briefly though, showing why you are the ideal candidate for the job – according to the specifications the employer stated – keeping in mind that our application letter will probably be in competition with tons of other similar documents.
You application letter must not go on just repeating the information in the resume or CV, even for the essay-like application cover letter formats, but rather to add some value to that CV information.
At the end of it all, remember to make a reference on your cover letter to the documents it is supposed to cover (attached CV or credentials) so that there is continuity in the whole document.
In case you are using online application medium, like where you are applying through e-mail, and unless explicitly stated otherwise, it is best to have your application letter as the email’s main body, with the rest of the documents in the series send as attachments to it.