Catherine's Career Corner
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March 12th, 2009
Cover letter – 5 FAQ and Answers

1. Why write a cover letter instead of just sending only my CV?

There are many reasons why you should send a cover letter with your CV (unless you are specifically asked not to send one in) The reasons are:
• A cover letter will briefly introduce you, state the position you are applying for and where you saw it advertised.
• It explains why you are interested in the kind of job and the particular employer.
• You can easily in a short, clear statement explain any gaps in your CV
• It indicates your availability for an interview.
• It prevents misunderstandings and also serves as a gentle prompt for an interview.
• It allows you to select your words and context meanings very carefully in a succinct manner.
• It is a one-way-communication from you; it allows you to structure your line of reasoning, without interference.
• People take the written words with more attention than a phone call to introduce your CV, and always not interrupting to other people in their work
• Above all, it complements your CV.

2. Can a CV cover letter be personal and effective?

• Yes, it is important that you make it personal, original and effective because you want your letter to work for you. That is the reason why it is important to call the potential employer up to find out the name of the person that your CV and cover letter should be addressed to. Doing this will only show that you are proactive! I am sure that every one of us must have the experience of receiving letters that could have been written for any person; nothing shows the sender is directing him or herself to you especially. For your letter not to get “half attention, I recommend that you address it to someone unless they absolutely insist that you address it to HR.
• Always remember that the letter you write is representing you and you want to be invited for a interview and show that you are the most suitable candidate for the position you are applying for.
• Treat your letter as an image builder.
If you read a letter with the following sentences:
– In reference to your advertisement of … looking for….
– Please, find enclosed..
– Thank you in advance…
– I hope to hear from you…
I am sure that you know that these are pretty formal and standard sentences. The problem is that the text are always the same, and nothing changes if you write to one or countless companies.

The text in this kind of cover letter lacks character, personality and impact. The overall image will be one of pure routine. If you learn to be creative, you can change your way of thinking and your creative sentences can help and make you stand out and ahead of competitors. Warning: If you think you lack creativity, then, stick to what you are comfortable writing. You really don’t want to get things wrong.
However, it is vital that you show in your cover letter something more about you than only the academic background and experience. Show your interest in that company, show the skills you have and have developed in many professional and personal areas.
3. What are the disadvantages of writing a CV cover letter…

They are simply:
• Having to think about what you have to write
• Writing a cover letter lacks intonation, facial expression and show of body-language. Ensure that you balance this by the careful selection of words, action verbs and creative writing skills.
• Bad letter full of errors with long sentences full of unnecessary information will show your unsuitability for the job role
• Writing letters that are not targeted
• Not clearly paragraphed

4. What should the content be?

The content should be, in this order:
• Briefly introduce yourself
• State what position you’re applying for and where you saw it advertised.
• Explain why you’re interested in this type of work
• Explain why you’re interested in working for this particular employer.
• Highlight the ways in which you’re suitable for this position.
• Take the opportunity, if necessary, to explain any anomalies in your background, such as any time gaps or any ways in which you don’t match the selection criteria.
• Indicate availability for interview

5. What are the do’s and don’ts of a cover letter?

To mention a few:
• Don’t repeat your CV
• Do ensure that your covering letter do complement your CV?
• Do make sure you’ve read the advert properly.
• Do point out what you can do for them.
• Don’t include negative information.
• Do always check for spelling and grammar.
• Don’t make it too long.
• Do make it one page

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Founder, Catherine's Career Corner. The career site empowering and inspiring ambitious candidates of all ages and professions to thrive and work smarter on their careers. Gladly helping all career-minded people worldwide to explore their career, manage change and understand how new technologies are changing and enhancing the future of work.

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