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Cover Letter Types: What You Need to Know before Submitting

There are several kinds of cover letter types and you need to make the right choice if you want to get the job of your dreams. The type of letter you write depends entirely on your objectives and the resources you have available to you. Some types are more commonly requested than others such as cold contact cover letter and you’ll need to get to grips with the basics lest you slip up by making a schoolboy error.

The Purpose of a Cover Letter

Simply put, a cover letter sets you apart from the crowd. It’s surprisingly easy to have an identical resume to that of any number of the other candidates for a given job, so a cover letter is your chance to separate the proverbial wheat from the chaff.

Unlike many are led to assume, a cover letter is not a mere repetition of the content of your resume. It’s a waste of time to limit your letter in this way as you have only a few moments with which to impress the hiring manager with your brilliance and uniqueness. Instead, use this opportunity to elaborate on why you’re the perfect fit for the job.

The Main Different Types of Application Letter

You’ll probably already be aware of a few of the different types of application letter that you might need to write as part of your job application. Ultimately, the type you use depends on who you’re contacting and why. Consider the five options below and choose the one most suited to your requirements.

A basic application letter is the most common type of cover letter. When you spot a position advertised that you like the sound of, this is the kind of letter you’d craft and send of in direct response to the job offered.

A value proposition letter is a concise paragraph that allows you to express precisely why you’re perfect for a job. In a nutshell, it’s a piece of sales copywriting that you use to tell a company why you’d be indispensable.

A referral letter is much the same as a typical cover letter except that it starts by directly mentioning a specific mutual contact. How to start a job application letter is probably the most difficult consideration, but once the ball is rolling, you’ll soon pick up momentum. This person should be ideally placed with a given company to put in a good word, and you’d be best off choosing a person who you know to be on good terms with the hiring manager.

You can use cold contact methods to write what is variously known as a cold cover letter, a prospecting letter, or a letter of interest. Whatever you choose to call it, this is a direct claim that you would be perfect for a job that may not even exist yet. You are telling a company what they could do better and showing why you’re the person to initiate these ideas.

Last but not least is the networking letter. While this isn’t used to get a job per se, it is used to boost relationships between you and your correspondents, allowing you to gather information about job openings and even get a referral letter for later use.

Why You Should Write a Cover Letter

cover letter types

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It’s a fact that when you use a cover letter application success rates are much higher. In case it isn’t already clear, here are a few reasons why you really ought to write a cover letter. These are especially relevant if you’re composing a basic application letter.

  • You can expand upon your professional summary and support your resume in the parts where it wouldn’t cut the mustard on its own.
  • You can demonstrate your writing prowess. Whereas resumes involve a highly distorted writing style, cover letters allow you to be more flexible and express yourself properly.
  • You can emphasize certain characteristics and abilities that didn’t quite make it onto your resume in their optimal format.
  • You can show your prospective employer that you are taking this opportunity seriously. Many people don’t even provide a cover letter, let alone a good one, so you’ll be ahead of the pack just by following best practices.

Sending Electronic Correspondence

Now that pretty much everything is computerized to a certain degree, there are all kinds of questions about how to approach job hunting using the Internet. One of the most important considerations that has made the leap from paper to screen is the quandary of how long should an electronic cover letter be.

cover letter application advice

The answer to this question actually depends on exactly what you’re sending and by which means. For example, you might be submitting an online application but the content could still end up being printed off for the hiring manager to read as per the traditional way. Alternatively, you could submit your application by email, particularly in the case of referrals, and this really alters how long should an electronic cover letter be.

On the whole, you should format your cover letters using a word processor program. Allow yourself a font size of 12 and sufficient white space, and this should let you express yourself optimally within a single page. For email correspondence, a limitation of around 150 well chosen words will help you achieve your goals most efficiently.

The 7 Worst Mistakes You Must Avoid

There are all sorts of mistakes that you could make while writing your cover letter. Besides the cover letter application for any job is fraught with complications that can be easily avoided with a little prior preparation and reading.

  • Once you’ve got over the hurdle of how to start a job application letter, you can end up writing too much. More than 80% of recruiters spend no more than one minute reading your letter so keep it short and sweet.
  • Addressing the wrong person is a huge no-no. Aside from being rude, it shows a shocking lack of attention to detail.
  • Providing a generic one-size-fits-all cover letter. You really must adapt your letter for each and every potential employer.
  • Selling yourself short. While humility is a virtue in everyday life, job applications are not the time to play your achievements down.
  • Adding false information to your letter. It’s obvious, but you’d be surprised by how many people do this. It’s really not worth the risk.
  • Writing in poor grammar and with spelling mistakes. Even if you’re a literary genius, it’s easy to miss a typo or one of Autocorrect’s notorious tricks.
  • Repeating the content of your resume. A cover letter is supposed to support your resume rather than being a different version of the same information.
cover letter application writing tips

Image credit: CareerBuilder

Finding a Job Online

There’s a world of opportunity when it comes to searching for job vacancies online. The number of jobs sites seems to be increasing exponentially with openings being advertised everywhere. It’s important to choose a reputable place at which to do your job searching. Here are the top 5 most useful job sites.

  • LinkedIn: If you’re a professional, you’ll know how important it is to network among potential clients and employers. LinkedIn is essentially social media for professional networking purposes and it even lets you upload your resume and show it off to all the potential employers out there.
  • Job.com: This one works both ways, letting employers search for ideal candidates as well as vice versa. You can upload your resume to make the most of this function, and it even helps you to construct your resume if you haven’t made the most of your potential yet.
  • SimplyHired: The site functions as a search engine that works to help you narrow down your preferred employers based on all kinds of characteristics. You can sign up for email alerts so you’ll be first in the jobs queue at all times.
  • CareerBuilder: This site is essentially a giant jobs board, giving you access to all the latest job ads from all sorts of companies, as well as timely advice on getting employed. You can search by location too, so if you need to find a job close to home, this is one of the best ways to do it.
  • Monster: Functioning as something in between LinkedIn and CareerBuilder, this offers a huge selection of job ads and a networking interface that certainly works well. There’s an email alerts service for all the latest news to keep you ahead of the competition if you’re diligent enough.

Now you have a thorough grounding in the various cover letter types available for use. You’ll know by now which one is most suitable for your requirements, and the advice shared here is applicable to each and every kind of cover letter. Make sure you adopt all the best practices when writing your first job or judicial internship cover letter and your dream job is sure to be yours.

Consider the different cover letter types and pick the one more appropriate for your individual needs. Write a stellar cover letter and boost your chances to the next level!