Boost Your Competitive Edge With A Top-Notch Cover Letter


    It’s a crowded marketplace. With many job applicants competing for limited job opportunities, how can you stand out in a sea of talent?

    On the average, a company hiring manager receives hundreds of job applications and inquiries a day. Job recruiters sift through these piles of documents and search for the candidate whom they think will be a best fit to the demands and requirements of the job opening.

    Each jobseeker tries to sell him or herself to prospective companies in the hopes of landing that dream job.

    How do you get to the top, be noticed by the employer and merit that much-awaited job interview? Here are some surefire tips that will help your cover letter stand out from the crowd:

    1) Do your homework

    Before you start writing your cover letter, take time to research about the company you are applying in, the name of the hiring manager, the details of the job opening and the kind of corporate culture that the company has. Go online, read news about the company or connect with friends working in the said firm. Let the recruiter know that you’ve made an effort to know more about their organisation.

    2) Get the basics right

    It all starts with the correct format. Make sure that you have these basic elements in your letter:

      1. Greeting: Make sure to address your letter to the right person.
      2. Opening: Write a personable opening and state your reason for writing.
      3. Hook: Highlight a relevant past achievement in connection with the job you’re applying for.
      4. Skills: Include a pertinent skill that will prove handy to the job.
    • Close: Thank the hiring manager and communicate your eagerness for an interview.

    3) Yes, the K.I.S.S. approach works

    Piles of job applications land on the hiring team’s desk every day. With such limited time to scan an applicant’s documents, it isn’t wise to send a cover letter that reads like your life story. Keep it short and sweet. State only the most relevant skills or work achievements.

    4) Use bullet points

    This is a valuable tool, which will help the hiring manager scan through your list of skills, achievements, education and trainings.

    5) Link them to your social media and online portfolio

    Make it easier for the employer to know you by providing them access to your LinkedIn account as well as your online portfolio of sample works.

    6) ‘Authenticate’ your letter

    Let your unique, concrete accomplishments shine through. Avoid trite words like ‘team player’, ‘motivated’ or ‘passionate.’ Feel free to drop a one-liner reference from a former boss or mentor to back up your credentials.

    7) Avoid phrases that put your job application at risk

    As much as you can, refrain from using phrases such as a generic “To Whom It May Concern…”, “Give me a chance to prove myself…”, “Here are my salary expectations…” and “The reasons I left my former employer are…”. These phrases can turn off an employer and may put your job application in peril.

    8) Tell them what makes them special

    Before trying to impress them with your skills and achievements, flatter the recruiter first by mentioning what is it about the company that attracted you to apply. Was it their track record of market success, their corporate culture or their fabulous office layout?

    9) Try the elevator pitch

    If you were given only a minute to introduce yourself to an employer, what would you say? How would you put your best foot forward?

    10) Feel their pain

    Know what the company challenges or pain points are (e.g. knowledge transfer, employee turnover, high churn rate) and position yourself as the ‘solution’ to their problem.

    12) Know your communication style

    The way you communicate plays a crucial role to the recruiter as to whether you will fit in with the culture of the company.

    13) Remember to follow through

    Most jobseekers complete the first part of the application process (sending their cover letter and resume, showing up at the job interview) but only a few job applicants remember to follow-up on their application. A call to the hiring manager or an e-mail a week after the job interview would be a good time to make that follow-up inquiry.

    14) Show courtesy and good manners

    Be polite and appreciative of the interviewer’s time in the recruitment process, whether or not you get hired, will leave a good impression on your job application.

    An impressive cover letter separates you from the rest of the pack and takes you one step closer to landing that dream job or working with a distinguished employer.

    Do you want to enhance your workplace skills? Visit and learn more about Kaplan Singapore’s Workforce Skills Qualification (WSQ) programmes.

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