The Purpose of a Cover Letter for Job Search - ZipJob

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Zipjob Team

4 min read

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The cover letter is as important as your resume in most cases yet many job seekers neglect to send one or put in the effort to write an effective one. Why is the cover letter important? What's the purpose of a cover letter anyway?

Don’t worry! We’ve got you covered. In this post, we’ll go over the purpose of a cover letter and give you some tips on how to write an effective one.

Purpose of a Cover Letter

A cover letter is a document that’s sent along with a resume which should entice the hiring manager to read your resume.

The point of a cover letter is to conversationally make an introduction and a case as to why you and your qualifications would make a good fit for the position. It’s as simple as that.

The cover letter allows you to encourage the employer to read your resume in more detail and consider you for the position.

Here are the main points that you should cover:

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Show a Desire to Work for the Company

The hiring manager doesn't just want to see a resume full of prior work experience, they want to see that you have a genuine interest in working for the company. That's a major purpose of a cover letter and one that could give you a leg up over the other candidates.

Mention the name of the company to show your interest and that you took the time out to tailor your cover letter.

Briefly State How You're Qualified

Don't reiterate your resume on your cover letter word for word but instead give a sentence or two showing how you're qualified. You could mention the years of experience you have in the field or relate your past work experience to the position.

Mention Some of Your Accomplishments

This is another point of a cover letter that’s crucial in giving you an edge over the competition. Don’t just state your qualifications but mention specific quantifiable accomplishments to capture the attention of a hiring manager. They want to see how you will benefit the company, and there is no better way to do that than mentioning some of your past accomplishments.

Explain Career Changes and Employment Gaps

You can’t really explain an employment gap or career change on a resume which is another purpose a cover letter serves. It allows you to conversationally explain some questions that may be a red flag to an employer who’s just looking at your resume.

Ask for the Interview

The last thing you need to do is ask for an interview. After you mention the points above, you need a call to action. In this case, the call to action is scheduling you for an interview. Thank the reader for their time and politely ask to be scheduled for an interview at their convenience.

Some may think this is too pushy, it’s not! You’ve written the cover letter to show the employer you’re the perfect fit, so now show some confidence and ask to be scheduled for an interview.

Closing Thoughts

So now that you know the purpose of a cover letter, make sure you send one for every application. The only time you don't send a cover letter is when the listing specifically states not to.

Sending a cover letter that's not tailored and well written will do you more harm than good. That's why it's important to put time and effort into crafting the perfect cover letter.

Here are some tips to keep in mind when writing a cover letter:

  • Tailor it for each position.

  • Ensure it's free of grammar and spelling errors.

  • Show a desire to work for that specific company.

  • Mention some accomplishments.

  • Keep it short and concise (under a page long).

Write a cover letter

Good luck with your job search!

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Written by

ZipJob Team

The ZipJob team is made up of professional writers located across the USA and Canada with backgrounds in HR, recruiting, career coaching, job placement, and professional writing.

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