by Ngeow Yeok Meng
A complete job application consists of a cover letter and a resume. The cover letter is meant to highlight your individuality or personality, and to make you stand out from among hundreds of other applicants.
When there are more job seekers around than job vacancies, human resource personnel tend to be more selective when short listing candidates for interview. Hence, you should use the cover letter as a tool to win the heart of a prospective employer. Market yourself to create a positive first impression in the cover letter, so that the person will read your resume, shortlist you for an interview, and offer you a job. A poorly written cover letter is likely to get instant rejection from the employer given the current job market.
As there is no standard format for cover letter, you are encouraged to write a particular cover letter, one at a time, to apply for the position of your interest. Cover letter should not be generic, i.e. you should not use the same cover letter for all the companies you wish to approach. This is because details like where and when you learnt about the vacancy, why you are interested to apply, what you have to offer to the company etc. are different for each of these companies.
Generally, a well written cover letter should provide answers to what the employers want to know:
Guidelines for writing a cover letter:
- Are you the kind of person they are looking for?
- Do you have the relevant education, work experience and skills?
- Can you handle the work demands, based on the job description?
- Have you shown a commitment to this particular field of interest?
- How well can you communicate with others?
- Are you a team player?
- Have you any leadership qualities?
Layout of a cover letter
- Organise your thoughts carefully
- Express yourself clearly and reasonably
- Use strong action words to describe your achievements
- Use active rather than passive voice
- Avoid jargon
- Avoid long sentences
- Avoid bad grammar and spelling mistakes
- Limit the length to one page only
- Proof read before you send via e-mail
Sample Cover Letter 1
- The opening
- Include your name and address, the date, employer's designation and address, salutation and subject.
- Nominate the job for which you are applying for.
- Indicate the source and date of the job information.
- Mention briefly your qualifications
- Indicate your interest, career objective or goal.
- Sales pitch
- Highlight the extent to which you match the requirements of the job.
- State your relevant experience gained from industrial attachments, projects, vacation or part-time jobs.
- Give a brief summary of your educational achievements, experience, qualities, capabilities and skills.
- Outline any further points in your favour related to the job and mention the attached resume.
- Mention your interest in the organisation and your reason for applying for that particular position.
- Request for further action
- Write that you look forward to a call or letter.
- State your availability for interview.
- Thank the person for his or her time and consideration.
- The complimentary close
- Remember to sign personally and include your name. State your enclosures such as your attached resume, academic results or references.
Ngeow Yeok Meng
12-A, Jalan Kajang Mewah 10
Taman Kajang Mewah
5 December 1998
The Human Resource Manager
JobStreet Sdn Bhd
Suite 4.3, Wisma Maran
338, Jalan Tuanku Abdul Rahman
50100 Kuala Lumpur
APPLICATION FOR THE POST OF CHIEF EDITOR
I refer to your advertisement placed in JobStreet's homepage dated 2 December 1998 for the above position. Realising that Internet is no longer an alternative but a necessity in the next millenium, I am keen to enhance my career in the content development of web site of your company.
Allow me to introduce myself briefly. I gained basic knowledge of journalistic reporting, feature writing and editing skills from my major in Media Studies from the University of Malaya. My present job as a senior editor in a news agency since 1994 provides me with work experience and on-the-job training in the above areas.
In 1997, I had the opportunity to write for Alta Vista, an Internet content provider for the Asia Pacific region. The extensive knowledge I gained from my research work on employment trend and labour market information has enlightened me in many ways. I believe I can share my expertise with JobStreet in terms of recruitment practices and human resource management if given the opportunity.
I'm also well-versed in HTML and Pagemaker 6.0 as I have been actively involved in maintaining the web site of the news agency I serve. I'm able to meet deadline promptly as a result of many years of working at a fast pace in this agency.
The attached resume of mine will provide you more information about my work experience. I'll be glad to attend an interview to furnish you with more details. I can be reached via e-mail
Thank you for your time and consideration.
(Ngeow Yeok Meng)
Enclosed: Resume, Academic Results, References.
Sample Cover Letter 2
Rosli Abdul Hamid
13, Jalan 17/21
57000 Kuala Lumpur
5 December 1998
Mr. Geh Thuan Hooi
Group Human Resource Manager
7, Jalan 7, Cheras Jaya
Dear Mr. Geh,
RE: APPLICATION FOR MANAGEMENT TRAINEE POSITION
I wish to apply for the position of management trainee as advertised in JobStreet homepage on the 1st December 1998.
Thank you for your consideration.
I'm currently enrolled in the final year of a business administration course at the Universiti Utara Malaysia, and will graduate in April 1999.
Your company's unique involvement and position in the manufacturing of precision metal stampings and tooling has prompted me to apply for the management trainee position in your organisation. I am very interested in pursuing a career in the area of business administration. My academic transcript, which I have enclosed, shows that I have completed a wide range of subjects that provide me with a firm base of knowledge and skills relevant to the requirements of the management trainee position.
I notice that the position you advertised requires two years of work experience. Although I have not any work experience pertaining to the manufacturing industry, I have gone through a five-month industrial training during my final year of study where I was given tasks equivalent to a management executive. I have performed well during the training which had helped me expose to various managerial skills and practical knowledge.
My attached resume demonstrates my capacity to be a leader who is able to work in a team environment, set and achieve long and short term goals, think analytically and solve problems. I believe my knowledge and technical know-how in the field of management will help me contribute a great deal to your company. Above all, I possess the interest and determination to perform well in the graduate position you are offering.
I look forward to meeting with you to discuss the position further. I can be contacted on 012-2116888 between the hours of 9 a.m. to 9 p.m., and the following e-mail address:
(Rosli Abdul Hamid)
by Ngeow Yeok Meng