Cover Letter: 7 things to forget

7 myths about cover letters

Writing a cover letter is a very important process. However, there are a number of myths and preconceived notions about how to write it. Stephan M., a human resources director with more than 20 years of experience, addresses these myths and explains the reality.

1. There's no need to send a cover letter these days; a resume is enough

It's absolutely essential to send a cover letter to a recruiter. Its role is completely different from that of a resume. In a cover letter, as the name suggests, the purpose is to show the recruiter why you want to apply for the job.

2. Recruiters don't read cover letters

"This is absolutely not true. I can tell you that we recruiters read cover letters very carefully. Especially if I notice that the candidate has made an effort to personalize their letter, then I read everything in detail," says Stephan.

"It is through cover letters that I can understand why the job interests you and, above all, how we can work together."

3. A cover letter is a summary of a resume

Alas, all too often you come across cover letters that are simply a resume. This makes absolutely no sense at all. The cover letter should be a link between the resume and the company's expectations, not a rehash of the resume.

The two documents complement each other. You could say that a resume focuses on the "what," which is what you did and where you worked. A cover letter, on the other hand, should emphasize the "why". Why are you passionate about this sector? Why are you attracted to this particular role in this company?

4. The cover letter should be very short

There aren't really any precise rules about the length of a cover letter. What is absolutely certain is that it should be long enough to explain why the person is going to respond to the job offer.

However, the letter should not be too long, otherwise there is a high risk that the recruiter will not read it in its entirety. Therefore, you need to find the right balance, which is usually one page. But it really depends on the position; the higher the position, the more extended the letter needs to be in order to be convincing.

5. Use formal, seasoned language

When you write a cover letter, you're not being asked to be a great philosopher or a great writer.

Tip: always try to use a simple, professional style and avoid overly long sentences that quickly become difficult to read.

On the other hand, it's important to clean up any spelling and grammatical errors. Be vigilant even if you are not going to work in the administrative sector. A well-written letter shows that you are a serious person and that you have made every effort to contact the recruiter.

6. Sell yourself

Selling yourself in your cover letter is a very good thing. Talking only about yourself is much worse. While the cover letter is an opportunity to talk about yourself, it's also important to show how you can benefit the company. You should demonstrate your knowledge of the company and how you can fulfill its needs.

7. State your salary expectations

"There are no rules on this one, but I would say that unless you are asked to, you shouldn't address this topic in your cover letter," says Stephan.

The recruiter will make his or her choice based on your motivation, desire to join his or her team and your commitment to him or her. If you're straightforward about salary, it may give the impression that you're only interested in the paycheck. It is very bad when a recruiter thinks this way.

Bottom line

A cover letter is not the same as a resume. They complement each other, with the cover letter answering the question "why do I want to join your company". The optimal length of such a letter is 1 page. Avoid long sentences and don't just talk about yourself so that your letter makes a good impression.



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