Before You Write The Next Cover Letter

Before You Write The Next Cover Letter

Cover letter is a statement of purpose, explaining applicant’s fit for specific position or role. Other titles used interchangeably for cover letter are; Application Letter, Application Essay, Personal Background, Introduction Letter, etc.

Most times, your cover letter could probably be the first thing the recruiter will see. Therefore, it should be written in a way that is appealing to the reader and as such invite the recruiter into the actual document [CV/Résumé]. The tone of the letter should be business-like, employer-focused and should respond to the job requirements.

Cover Letter should not be a ‘one-size-fits-all-role’ document.

It is not advisable to use one cover letter across board, for all vacancies, across all industries and sectors. Every cover letter should be customized for specific job vacancy, job responsibilities and job requirements.

Most often than not, job vacancies require cover letters. However, in a scenario where it is not explicitly stated as part of the job requirements, it will be worthwhile to write the cover letter as the body of the mail (BTW do not forget to attach your CV/Résumé).

Suggestion: Always have the specific job description handy when drafting a cover letter, pay attention to relevant keywords/phrases and present your skills or expertise in the most applicable way possible.

STRUCTURE

Address it like a business letter and you can adopt the recommendations below unless otherwise stated during application.

  • THEME FONT: The choice of font style should be clear and easy-to-read e.g. Times New Roman, Calibri, Serif, Arial, etc.
  • FONT SIZE– Font size should be between 10pts-12pts.
  • LENGTH– Total length should not exceed 1 page. If it goes beyond that, review and edit the document to fit into a page.
  • LINE SPACING– Use the line spacing rule as applicable on a business letter.

 

CONTENTS

Design or formatting is inconsequential if the content of your Cover Letter cannot effectively showcase your skills and potentials or demonstrate your fit for the role.

The contents of the letter should include;

  • Address of writer and recipient.
  • Salutation- keep it brief and direct.
  • Paragraphs- not be more than 4-5 paragraphs

 Ideas for arranging paragraphs;

¶ 1- Indicate purpose of application.

  • How did you hear about the role and through which medium- Newspaper publication/ website/ referral/ or on LinkedIn?
  • You could also specify why you are interested in working for this particular employer.

¶ 2 & 3- Fit for role

  • Outline your qualifications/competencies and match them to the requirements of the position.
  • Provide specific and relevant achievements to demonstrate fit for the role (use bullet points for emphasis)

¶4- Next Step

  • Include a brief paragraph that indicates what action will come next.
  • Make known your availability for an interview opportunity to discuss further.

Close by thanking the employer for their time and consideration and Signoff with ‘Yours Sincerely or Yours Faithfully’.

Finally, proofread more than once! Double check for grammatical or spelling errors! Assume the role of the hiring Manager!

Do not second-guess whether the cover letter will be read or not. Do the needful and maximize every opportunity to get your dream job.


 

COVER LETTER WRITING

Let’s write a cover letter for a candidate applying for a Territory Sales Manager role with the job description below;

Territory Sales Manager Job Description (Ref: #2305)

The territory sales manager is responsible for all managing all sales activities within a defined geographical territory.

Job Responsibilities;

  • Building the business within the territory using a variety of sales techniques.
  • Targeting potential customers and assessing opportunities for sales.
  • Arranging meetings with potential customers and selling product offerings.
  • Cold calling companies within the territory and establishing needs.
  • Putting together a list of target companies within the area.
  • Analyzing competitor activities in the region and assessing opportunities for business development.
  • Working to revenue targets and KPI’s as set by the sales director.
  • Networking with businesses in the territory and building relationships.
  • Attending relevant industry events and conferences to build business.
  • Chasing sales leads from other members of the company.
  • Working closely with other territory sales manager’s and national account managers.
  • Putting together sales strategies to target large accounts.
  • Keeping up to date with industry news to identify opportunities for new business.

Qualification/Requirements; 

  • Previous experience working as a territory sales manager.
  • Relevant industry background gained from a competitor or company in a related industry.
  • Excellent people skills and an ability to build relationships with people at all levels.
  • Proven track record of building business and hitting sales targets.

 

THE COVER LETTER

Cover Letter- Sample

Job Search Strategy

Job Search Strategy

JOB SEARCH STRATEGY

Every job seeker falls into one or more of these categories;

  • Actively seeking employment
  • Currently employed, seeking better opportunities
  • Looking for a career change
  • Trying to test the job market

Notwithstanding the category, we are all in the search for that dream job, especially for those who are not entrepreneurs.

It’s no news that some people get jobs as soon as they graduate or ready for it. Some call it luck, favour, connection and so on. But the other reality is that some actually labour and toil before getting their dream job.

No matter how difficult or how tight the job market is, people are getting jobs and some are changing jobs day in day out.

At this juncture, we need to Stop! Think! Evaluate! the efficiency of our method of job searching and opt for an effective method.

Here are few strategies to consider;

1. Planning:

You need to invest time and energy into job searching and treat it as a real 8-5pm job. It won’t be a bad idea to have a weekly plan and dedicate 3-4days of the week to job search.

Don’t just apply for every available vacancy, it is important to have a target, focus on a particular area and stick to it.

I quite understand that the struggle is real but, if you are asked what you can do in terms of job, don’t say ‘any job’. You need to have a plan and be focussed.

Job hunting without a focus is tantamount to shooting in the dark with no target in mind. Be focussed and Be Specific!

Every job seeker need to ask himself-

Who is my target audience? Who do I want to attract?

Recruiters from which industry?

Which company do I want to work for? And in what capacity?

Here is the list of industries to choose from;

  • Accounting/Audit/Tax
  • Administration & Office Support
  • Agriculture/Farming;
  • Banking/Finance/Insurance
  • Beauty/Fashion
  • Building Design/Architecture
  • Construction
  • Consulting/Business Strategy & Planning
  • Creatives (Arts, Design, Fashion)
  • Customer Service/Call Centre
  • E-commerce
  • Education/Teaching/Training
  • Engineering
  • Healthcare/Pharmaceutical
  • Hospitality/Leisure/Travels
  • Human Resources
  • IT/Web Developers/Programmers
  • Legal
  • Logistics/Transportation
  • Manufacturing/Production
  • Marketing/Advertising/Communications
  • Media
  • NGO/Community Services/Humanitarian
  • Oil & Gas /Mining/Energy
  • Project/Programme Management
  • Quality Assurance & Quality Control/HSE
  • Real Estate/Property
  • Research
  • Retail/Wholesale
  • Sales/Business Development
  • Supply Chain/Procurement
  • Telecommunications
  • Trade and Services
  • Others

Make a list of the industries you would like to work for and specific companies under each?

Strategy:

Don’t wait until jobs are advertised on job boards or social media. Visit career page of your desired companies, search and apply for relevant roles. You can also subscribe for job alerts (if available).

Follow your desired companies on Social Media- Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook and so on. This is necessary in order to keep updated about relevant news or events, not just job vacancies.

2. Networking:

Leave your comfort zone and network with people. Don’t be shy to let acquaintances know that you are open to new job opportunities but please don’t bore them with job request. Just because a friend/relative has a company does not mean he/she must hire, you can mention it and ask for referrals.

You can join professional associations and be active. Build relationship with professionals and participate in intellectual discussions. Always be prepared to maximize every opportunity.

Prepare and practice your ‘Elevator Pitch’ also known as ‘Elevator Speech’ as many times as possible. You can practice in front of a mirror or a friend.

You never can say, there might be an opportunity to market yourself or to discuss the values you can add. You need to make a first great impression.

“An elevator speech is a clear, brief message or “commercial” about you. It communicates who you are, what you’re looking for and how you can benefit a company or organization. It’s typically about 30 seconds, the time it takes people to ride from the top to the bottom of a building in an elevator. (The idea behind having an elevator speech is that you are prepared to share this information with anyone, at anytime, even in an elevator.)” SOURCE: http://sfp.ucdavis.edu

3. Compelling CV/ Résumé:

No matter how archaic you think the idea of a CV is, some hiring companies/managers still see it as an initial tool for assessing applicant’s fit for a role.

Is your CV up to date? Is your CV just a list of your work history and not compelling enough to convince recruiter that you can do the job you are applying for?

It is not just how your CV looks on its own but how it looks or how it stands out in comparison to others. I believe that a well-written CV/ Résumé should earn you a right to an interview.

You can turn your CV into an effective marketing tool by spending time to develop it and making it competitive.

Therefore, it is time to look at your CV from the recruiter’s perspective. If you were a potential employer would you hire ‘YOU’ based on your current CV?

Don’t make your CV look like an obituary, spice it up with active verbs Must Use- CV Active Verbs

 

4. Advert-Targeted Cover Letter:

Cover Letter can also be referred to as Application Letter.

Your Cover Letter should be tailored towards the relevant terminology, keywords and phrases in the job description. This is necessary in order to present you in the most effective way possible, by showcasing your skills and the value that you can bring to an employer.

If you are applying for a vacancy that request for just CV/ Resume, it is advisable to copy and paste your cover letter as the body of the mail.

5. Effective Use of LinkedIn:

It is startling that you would meet an upwardly mobile jobseeker and then you realize he is not on LinkedIn!!

Linkedin is a social networking site for professionals. It has over 1million members in Nigeria and over 200million users globally. Hundreds of thousands of recruiters are using LinkedIn to source, search and hire candidates. In addition, hundreds of jobs are advertised on LinkedIn on a daily basis. It is therefore crucial to keep your LinkedIn profile updated and attractive to recruiters.

Signing up for LinkedIn is free and it gives you a platform to position yourself for opportunities as well as connect and network with hiring managers/decision makers in various organizations across the globe.

If you want to increase your chances of finding jobs, then it’s time to be active on LinkedIn.

How to Search for Jobs On Linkedin;

  1. You will find a tab ‘Jobs’ on the top navigation on your LinkedIn home page.
  1. Click on Jobs.
  2. Add keywords related to the jobs you are interested in, such as job title, keywords, or company name, and Location
  3. Click Find Jobs.

OR

  1. Click Discover to access new job postings.

When you view a job posting, you’ll see the following options:

  • Apply ‘on the company website
  • Save (and apply later)

For those jobs where you apply directly through LinkedIn, your profile will be forwarded when you apply. There could be an option to add a cover letter.

Update Job Preferences on LinkedIn:

You can set your job preferences by clicking the Preferences tab on the far right.

  • LinkedIn will automatically recommend the right jobs to you.
  • It also gives you the opportunity to let recruiters know that you are open to new jobs.
  • You also can indicate the type of job you are considering and at the same time ‘Share your profile’ with recruiters.

6. Job Application:

It is mandatory that you have a good understanding of the job responsibilities and requirements. Please apply for roles you are qualified for.

Make sure you follow all the instructions given when submitting your employment applications.

If it requires sending a CV and/or Cover letter as an attachment via an email, please ensure you use the right or required format.

  • Cross check the mail address.
  • Proofread the mail before sending and ensure that the documents are attached.
  • If the attachment is large, please put in a zip file.
  • By default, you should use your name as the title of the CV or Cover Letter attachment unless otherwise stated. E.g.
    • CV-Chinwe Aduke Mohammed
    • Cover letter- Chinwe Aduke Mohammed
  • Make the job title or Reference No (if applicable) as the subject of the mail. E.g.
    • SUBJECT:Re: Application for Human Resources Manager (Ref: #34089)
  • Do not forward the mail you have sent to another recruiter and if you must do so, please edit and avoid leaving a mail trail.

Always remember your e-mail etiquette!!

7. Job Tracker:

It won’t be a bad idea to keep tabs on all your job applications. You can create a job tracker using excel worksheet or any other app. Keep updating the status of each application and indicate necessary action.

In Conclusion;

Many jobseekers are frustrated due to unsuccessful job applications, failed interview, broken promises etc. This is not the time to throw a pity-party, it is time to change your ‘job-search’ strategy and take charge of your career.

At the same time, we cannot over emphasize the need to develop yourself while job hunting- WORK GAP