A cover letter is a summary of the reasons why you are the best candidate for the position. Its purpose is to make the reader want to read more about you in your resume and to get you an interview. It can help answer three questions that are often on the mind of the employer:
- Can you do the the job?
Show you have the right abilities, skills, knowledge and experience.
- Will you do the job?
Show are you are very interested in the work itself and that you have the other attitudes necessary for success in the role and in the company.
- Will you fit in?
Show how your values and goals match the company's values and goals. Your language and stories can also demonstrate how you might fit in with clients and co-workers.
Your written communication skills are assessed by employers in your applications, and particularly in your cover letter. Employers may be assessing any of the following:
- How well you structure written information.
- How well and how clearly you express your ideas.
- How well you target your communication to your audience.
- Your grammar and spelling ability.
- Your understanding of document formatting.
- Your attention to detail in regards to typos and information.
Cover letters can also demonstrate your analytical abilities. Employers will be assessing how well you have researched the organization and the position and how you have analyzed and addressed the company's needs in the letter.
Include a cover letter with every application you make but don't use the same cover letter for different positions. Each letter should be specific to the position and the organization. Employers recognize standard letters and will know you have not put in the effort they expect.