What Makes a Good Cover Letter?

What Makes a Good Cover Letter?

With increased competitiveness in today’s job market, the onus to “market” oneself has become all the more necessary. And to create such a good first impression, cover letters are the most important tool (literally) to have in one’s arsenal.

A cover letter, coupled with a resume, helps to provide additional information about the applicant’s skills and experience.  More specifically, it provides the information that is not mentioned on the resume.

Think of it as trying to sell a product – that product being you. (99% of the applicants write 'hardworking' 'smart'and 'enthusiastic'. Do you really want to sound as generic as that?).

Cover letters and resumes are often the first information a potential employer receives about an applicant. Knowing about the different types of cover letters can thus help you paint a stellar image of your competence, motivation, and experience in front of the potential employers.

It is always advisable to highlight oneself flatteringly in their cover letters. And that can either be by basking in reflected glory (such as associations with prestigious institutions) or self-presentation (listing reasons why they are better than others).

Cover letters are of three types, each with their individual pros and cons - but that discussion is for another day. Let us, instead talk about cover letters in themselves, and how to write a great one, thereby helping you land a job at your dream company.

"Cover letters should complement, not mirror your resume. Its purpose is to interpret the factual resume and add a personal touch to your application for employment."

Cover letters - What makes for a great cover letter?

Cover letters should complement, not mirror your resume. Its purpose is to interpret the factual resume and add a personal touch to your application for employment.

Imagine writing a great cover letter, which highlights all of your achievements and skills, but failing to notice the tiniest bit of typing error made in it. How will that present you in the eyes of the employer?

In the worst case scenario, your application would probably be rejected by them. Always remember that a cover letter is often your earliest written contact with a potential employer. They help to create a critical first impression. And so, even the tiniest bit of error casts doubt on your efficiency and attention to details.

Secondly, Imagine writing an error-free cover letter, but instead filling it up with generic details. That makes you sound just like the rest in relation to skills and attributes. And employers may find it difficult to select you. That is why it is important to write in such a way that it makes you sound less generic and helps you stand out from the rest of the crowd.


Cover letters help explain the reasons for your interest in the specific organization. When written effectively, they lend support in identifying your most relevant skills or experiences. But one thing to keep in mind is to keep the letter focused, concise, and a few paragraphs in length - enough to entice the recruiter to contact you for an interview.

Image Credit: Freepik

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