Career Corner

Tutorial: using cover letters for job applications

The use of cover letters with resumés dates back to the mid-20th century due to a transition from the manufacturing industry to a service-based industry, thus leading to the rise in white-collar jobs. Cover letters, otherwise known as letters of introduction, are attached to resumes by job seekers to give employers an idea of who they are. 

Most cover letters are designed for either of two purposes: to apply for a job position that has been advertised by a company, or to indicate interest in working for a company whether or not there are openings. Good cover letters must capture in detail who you are and what you have to offer. They must be straightforward, relevant, and captivating.

When writing your cover letter, you should avoid using cliché phrases like ‘My name is…’, ‘I am writing to…’, and ‘To whom it may concern.’ These phrases have been used countless times, and they only show that your vocabulary is not rich. In addition to that, make sure to talk about you and you alone. Things regarding your family, friends, or other personal, irrelevant matters should be limited and if possible, avoided. 

Also, you should include your achievements and past accomplishments. Employers become attracted to you when they see that you have accomplished a lot. It makes it easy for them to connect with you and understand you even when they haven’t met with you. You should however make sure that you don’t exaggerate because people can easily detect when you do so.

Although cover letters aren’t in use a lot nowadays, they still serve as a good way to get an employer to get to know you before they physically meet you. Nowadays, most people prefer to write a little blurb about themselves in their résumés. These could still pass as a cover letter, as long as it talks about you and what you have to offer.