What is cover letter?

What is a Cover Letter? (With Definition and Example)

Do you want to land your dream job? With an effective cover letter, you can make recruiters notice your application and stand out. If you are wondering what is a cover letter, read till the end of the blog to know more about it, its types, what to include, and tips to write one. Let’s get started!
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In the modern competitive job market, simply submitting a resume is rarely enough to stand out. Employers receive hundreds of applications for most positions. 

But do you know that hiring managers spend 30 seconds to two minutes on each cover letter? Yes, so a thoughtful and targeted cover letter is essential to grab their attention.

While resumes offer a snapshot of your professional history and skills, cover letters allow you to showcase your personality and motivation, making a compelling case for why you are the ideal candidate for the job.
By understanding its significance and crafting it effectively, you can make a memorable impression and convince hiring managers of your potential value to their organisation. But before that, what is a cover letter for a job? Let’s understand in detail.

What is a Cover Letter? (…and Why is it Important?)

A cover letter is a one-page professional document that accompanies your resume during a job application. Its purpose is to introduce yourself to the employer, highlight your most relevant qualifications, skills, and experiences, and explain why you are an excellent fit for the role based on the requirements.

While the resume outlines your professional journey in bullet points, the cover letter allows you to narrate your story, emphasising aspects that align with the job requirements.

Now that you know what is meant by a cover letter, let’s distinguish it from a resume.

Know the Differences Between a Resume and a Cover Letter!

ResumeCover Letter
Explain how you fit the desired profileLength: Less than 1 page
Outlines your professional background and qualificationsHighlights qualifications relevant to one specific role
Structured, reverse chronological formatNarrative style, tailored for each application
Typically lists experiences in bullet formUses full sentences and paragraphs for a more personal touch
Lists education, employment history, skillsOutline your professional background and qualifications
Includes metrics, numbers, resultsUses examples to showcase skills applied

“While the resume provides the facts about your employment history, the cover letter elaborates on how your background makes you the ideal choice for the opening. It enables you to connect the dots for the hiring manager by showing how your brand aligns with the company.”

What is the Purpose of a Cover Letter?

Now that we know what is meant by a cover letter, let us know the primary purpose of a cover letter is to complement your resume by providing additional context and insight into your suitability for the job. 

It allows you to showcase your personality, passion, and communication skills while demonstrating your understanding of the company and its needs.

There are several key objectives:

1. It explains your interest in the company and role – You can share why the mission, values, and work excite you specifically.

2. It draws connections between your background and the position requirements – You get a chance to provide relevant examples of instances when you have applied similar skills to the role demands.

3. It highlights transferable skills and less tangible assets- A cover letter gives you room to exhibit soft skills critical for the job, such as work ethic, problem-solving, and communication abilities.

4. It serves as a writing sample- It demonstrates your communication strengths right off the bat. With strong writing skills, you can craft a professional, articulate letter tailored to the opportunity at hand.

Types of Cover Letters

There are several formats you can follow based on the stage you are at in the process:

1. Application cover letter: This is the standard cover letter you submit with your initial job application. It should be tailored to the organisation and position based on the description.

2. Prospective cover letter: Despite not seeing any jobs advertised, you can send a cover letter to hiring managers or employees of organisations inquiring about potential job opportunities.

3. Referral cover letter: If you were referred to the opening by a mutual connection, this is a good opportunity to name-drop them and explain how they thought of you for the role.

4. Networking cover letter: Similarly, if you meet someone at a conference or industry event, follow up with a cover letter to tell them why you’re interested in opportunities at their organisation.

5. Follow-up cover letter: After an interview, send a letter or email thanking them for their time while reiterating your top qualifications. This keeps you fresh in their mind while decision-making.

6. Withdrawal cover letter: If you’re no longer interested in the role or have accepted another offer, professionally notify them to remove you from the applicant pool.

What to Include in a Cover Letter?

Remember the structure- Header, Salutation, Introduction, Body Paragraphs, Closing, Signature.

This should include your name, phone number, email, and the date at the top, just like a letterhead.

Salutation

Address the hiring manager by name. If unsure of the recipient’s name, use a generic greeting like “Dear Sir/Mam” or “To Whom It May Concern.”

Introduction

Begin with a strong opening sentence that grabs the reader’s attention and clearly states the position you’re applying for. Mention how you learned about the job opening (e.g., through a job board, company website, or referral).

Body Paragraphs

  • First Paragraph: Introduce yourself and provide a brief overview of your background, including your current position and relevant experiences. Express your enthusiasm for the opportunity and briefly explain why you’re interested in the position and company.
  • Middle Paragraph(s): Elaborate on your qualifications, skills, and achievements that make you a strong candidate for the job. Use specific examples to demonstrate your expertise and how it aligns with the requirements outlined in the job posting.
  • Final Paragraph: Reiterate your interest in the position and company, and thank the reader for considering your application. Express your willingness to provide further information or discuss how your skills and experiences can contribute to the company’s success. [A strong Call-to-action (CTA)- example: I’m looking forward to hearing more about the role- works wonder]

Closing

Use a professional closing such as “Sincerely,” “Best regards,” or “Thank you.” 

Signature

Formally sign off with the full name.

How do I Write a Cover Letter?

Follow this step-by-step guide to write a perfect cover letter and get hired.

#Step 1: Carefully Review Job Description

Identify must-have requirements, responsibilities, preferences, and skillsets the hiring manager seeks by thoroughly going through the job advertisement.

#Step 2: Research Company

Get familiar with the organisation’s mission, values, culture, products, services, clients, past work, and current initiatives through its website and news coverage.

#Step 3: Brainstorm Specific Examples: 

Reflect on past positions, internships, coursework, volunteer work, and other experiences. Identify concrete stories of times you demonstrated the advertised competencies.

#Step 4: Match Background to Needs

Make literal connections between their requirements and your credentials. If they want social media skills, reference the online awareness campaigns you orchestrated. If they require numerical analysis experience, mention the financial forecasting model you built.

#Step 5: Draft & Customise Content

Tailor a template for the specific opportunity at hand. Use the job description language and keywords throughout your letter. Replace vague descriptors with actual numbers, names of systems used, publications delivered, and other specifics.

#Step 6: Emphasise Transferable Skills

While some qualifications may be unique to one industry, many in-demand competencies like strategic planning, team leadership, project management, and communication apply across sectors.

#Step 7: Showcase Soft Skills

Give examples that exhibit professionalism, work ethic, adaptability, positive attitude, emotional intelligence, collaboration abilities, and other important behavioural traits.

#Step 8: Proofread Carefully

Closely edit the letter to eliminate all typos, grammar errors, redundant points, and other mistakes. Use spell check, but also read out loud.

#Step 9: Solicit Feedback

Ask colleagues, mentors, or professionals in the target field to review and provide constructive recommendations on improving it.

#Step 10: Send Follow-Up Thank You

After submitting, follow up with a brief letter reiterating excitement and offering to provide any additional information.

What is the Format of a Cover Letter?

While each cover letter must be adapted to the opportunity at hand, the following general cover letter template provides universal guidelines to follow:

Cover Letter Template

Dear [Employer’s Name],

I am writing to express my interest in the Product Manager position at ABC (company name), as advertised. With a passion for creating innovative solutions and a proven track record of driving product success, I am confident in my ability & excited to contribute effectively to your team.

In my most recent role at ABC, I spearheaded the development and launch of several successful products, from conception to market delivery. 

By leveraging market research, customer feedback, and cross-functional collaboration, I ensured that each product met and exceeded user expectations while aligning with business objectives.

One notable project I led involved revitalising an underperforming product line, resulting in a 30% increase in revenue within the first year of implementation. 

This achievement not only demonstrated my strategic vision but also showcased my ability to identify and capitalise on market opportunities effectively.

I am particularly drawn to ABC because of its reputation for innovation and commitment to delivering exceptional products. I am excited about the opportunity to contribute to your dynamic team and help drive the future success of your product portfolio.

I am confident that my blend of technical expertise, strategic thinking, and leadership skills make me a strong fit for this role. Furthermore, I am eager to bring my passion for product management to ABC and collaborate with talented individuals who share a similar dedication to excellence.

Thank you for considering my application. I am looking forward to the possibility of discussing how my experiences align with the needs of your team. Please find my resume attached for further details on my background and accomplishments.

Sincerely,

[Your Name]

What is a Cover Letter for an Internship?

A cover letter for an internship serves as a formal introduction and an opportunity to showcase your enthusiasm, qualifications, and relevant experiences to potential employers. 

While similar in structure to a cover letter for a job application, a cover letter for an internship typically emphasises your academic background, extracurricular activities, and career aspirations.

Tips for Writing Cover Letters

  • Lead with Your Value Proposition: Clearly articulate why you’re the perfect fit for the role and the company.
  • Quantify Achievements: Use concrete numbers and metrics to showcase your accomplishments and credibility.
  • Spotlight Transferable Skills: Highlight soft skills like adaptability and teamwork that are valuable across various roles.
  • Write Succinctly: Format your letter for easy scanning with bullets, headings, and white space.
  • Align with Company Values: Tailor your language to reflect the company’s culture, mission, and priorities.
  • Personalise for the Reader: Address the hiring manager directly for a personalized touch.
  • Use Active Voice: Opt for confident and impactful sentence construction.
  • Proofread Thoroughly: Eliminate typos and grammatical errors to maintain professionalism.
  • Solicit Feedback: Seek input from colleagues or mentors to improve the quality of your cover letter.
  • Follow-Up Promptly: Show initiative by sending a brief follow-up expressing continued interest after applying.

Conclusion

Here it is- answering your question, “What is a cover letter?” A cover letter is your super tool to get your application seen and make a positive & unforgettable impression. It allows you to expand on the fit between what the manager seeks and what you offer. 

With the right preparation, you can produce a sharp cover letter that gives you an undeniable edge over the competition. So don’t underestimate the influence of this document on your candidacy. A cover letter is a chance to create your first impression- make it count.

And if you are applying for a job in Digital Marketing then mentioning digital marketing course certification in your cover letter will help you stand out in the crowd.

If you are a fresher student or someone looking to upskill, you can also check out Digital Scholar’s Dual Certification Digital Marketing course with AI-updated modules.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q. What is a cover letter for a job role?

A. A cover letter is a letter that accompanies your resume when applying for a job role. It highlights your relevant qualifications and interest in the position/company.

Q. What do you write in a cover letter?

A. In a cover letter, you should express why you are interested in the role/company and how your qualifications align with what they need. Provide examples of your relevant experience, and thank them for their consideration.

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Written By
Digital Scholar

Digital Scholar is a premier agency-styled digital marketing institute in India. Which offers an online digital marketing course and a free digital marketing course worldwide to elevate their digital skills and become industry experts. Digital Scholar is headed by Sorav Jain and co-founder Rishi Jain, who are pioneers in the field of digital marketing. Digital Scholar’s blogs touch upon numerous aspects of digital marketing and help you get intensive ideas of different domains of digital marketing.

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