Jobs Career Advice Signup

15 Cover Letter Frequently Asked Questions

Updated on Mar 27, 2020 7820 views
15 Cover Letter Frequently Asked Questions

Below are some frequently asked questions job seekers usually have about cover letters and their answers.


These 15 cover letter questions and answers, will teach you the right way to create a cover letter than not only stands out from that of other applicants, but  one that is also mistake free.


Continue reading to find out why cover letters are necessary and some of the common mistakes we make while preparing our cover letters.


1. Do I Really Need A Cover Letter?

Yes, you do. If you are applying online or sending your application via email, then you need to have a cover letter. A cover letter should always accompany your CV.

Why is a cover letter necessary? 

A cover letter gives you an opportunity to include details that your resume does not contain. For example, if you are applying from a distance, your cover letter will enable you to present a rationale for relocation and to mention that you will be in the area for a possible interview.

A cover letter is also an ideal place to specify examples that prove you have the skill and experiences listed on your resume.


2. How Long Should A Cover Letter Be? 

An ideal cover letter should be three to five paragraphs.

Usually, your cover letter should provide a brief introduction to your resume/CV and summarize your general work experience and any related experience you have in the field you are applying for.

Keep it long enough that it is still easy to understand, but not too long that the recruiter will decide to glance through it or skip it entirely.


3. What Information Should My Cover Letter Contain?

Just because a cover letter provides more length for you to explain in details all the things you listed out in your CV,  it doesn’t mean that you should include any random information about yourself in it.

Your cover letter should contain:

  • How your work experience meets the job requirements.
  • How your skills meet job requirements.
  • Why you want to work at the organization.

4. Should I Discuss Salary In My Cover Letter?

No, you should not discuss salary in your cover letter, except in a situation where it is expressly stated by the recruiter that you should provide some information about your salary expectation.


5. Should I Explain Why I Am In The Job Market?

No. There is really no need for you to explain to a recruiter why you are in the job market when you are applying for a job. 


6. Should I Do A Follow Up After Sending My Cover Letter And CV?

After you have sent your cover letter, it is likely that the recruiter will take some designated time to get back to you.

After this time has passed, you can either choose to wait patiently to be contacted, or you can follow up with them regarding your application.

If you must follow up, wait at least 5-10 business days to do so and follow up via email.

Also keep in mind, that the interviewer may not have responded on time because they are reviewing hundreds of other applications and are not ignoring you on purpose.

7. What Are  The Worst Cover Letter Mistakes I Can Make?

  • Typographical and grammatical error. Vet your cover letter with tools like Grammarly before you submit it.

  • Talking about your skills, without backing it up with facts and instances where you used those skills.

  • Detailing every single job you have ever had. Just focus on relevant ones where you made the most prominent impacts and list the other ones out in your CV.

  • Repeating verbatim what you wrote in your CV/Resume. 

  • Being cliche with your letter. Saying things like “I take initiative”, “I am detail-oriented” without backing it up with facts or giving an example that points to these qualities.

  • Parading yourself as the company’s biggest fan, even when you just heard about them on the day you applied.


Other worst cover letter mistakes you can make include:

  • Addressing the letter to To Whom It May Concern" shows the employer that you were not concerned enough to find out the name of the person with the hiring manager. When unsure use saluations such as "Dear Personnel Director," ''Dear Human Resource Manager" etc
  • Telling the employer what the company can do for you instead of what you can do for the company. This mistake is particularly common among new college graduates and other inexperienced job-seekers. In most cases, employers are in business to make a profit. They want to know what you can do for their bottom line, not what they can do to fulfill your career dreams.
  • Leaving the ball in the employer's court. Too many cover letters end with a line like this: "If you are interested in my qualifications, please call me." Proactive cover letters, in which the job-seeker requests an interview and promises to follow up with a phone call, are far more effective.
  • Overusing “I.” It’s okay to refer to yourself, but not in every sentence. Remember to use “you” even more. Show the “you” to whom you are writing that you’re more concerned with meeting his or her needs than meeting your own.
  • Exaggerating your experience. Don’t “stretch” anything you say. Be completely truthful while still presenting yourself in the best possible light.
  • Forgetting to sign the letter or to attach your CV.
  • Not giving the employer a medium to contact you. Never forget to include your phone number or email address or both, or the employer may not be able to inform you about your upcoming interview.


8.  Should I State “Objective” In My Cover Letter?

If you have already written it in your CV’s personal statement, then there is no need to include again in your cover letter.

You can also leave it out if you have not said it before and start your letter with a simple and effective...

“I am applying for the position of ABC because I saw in your job description that you are looking for a candidate who xxx”.

9. How Should My Cover Letter Be Formatted?

If you are sending a hard copy of your cover letter, then you need to follow the guidelines below.

  • Start with your home address and contact information (including email).

  • Add the details of the person you are addressing the cover letter to (Address to the hiring manager).

  • State the subject of the letter (“Application For The Post Of”). If you are applying via email, the subject of the email should be the post you are applying for (Application for the post of, still goes). In other scenarios, the subject of the cover letter could also be the reference number of the job you are applying for.

  • The body of the cover letter. Here, state why you are qualified for the job, a brief summary of your work history, and how interested you are in working with the company.

  • End your cover letter with how you want them to follow up on your application, via email or phone, and sign.


10. Can I Use A Cover Letter Template To Write My Cover Letter?

Yes, you can use a cover letter template which is specially created for the job your are applying for (E.g Sales Manager cover letter template) to create yours, following the directions and format given on the sample template.

If you need a template for your cover letter, you can check out the cover letter templates samples we have on MyJobMag, which are tailored to suit any job you are applying for. 


11. Can I Get My Cover Letter Re-written Professionally?

Of course, you can. If you already have a cover letter but want to make sure that it meets the required standards, you can get it re-written by experts. 

Your cover letter will be checked for errors and be optimized so that it will be easily found in an Applicant Tracking System (ATS). Check our this professional cover letter writing service at a very affordable rate


12. Can I Have  A Generic (All Purpose) Cover Letter?

All-purpose cover letters are not specific to a particular position and contain generalized information about your qualifications.

Its better to have a targeted letter. This is a cover letter written with the job advert in mind.  Focusing on the skills and abilities that you possess that make you a strong fit for the specific job.


13. What Is The Best Way To Send A Cover Letter With My Resume?

When applying for a job, some applications instructions come with attach CVs and cover letter.

The best thing to do is to follow the application instruction. 


14. How Do I Increase The Impact Of My Cover Letter?

To make sure that your cover letter capture the attention of the recruiter, there are a lot of things you should bear in mind. Ensuring that you customize your cover letter to match the requirements listed in the job advertisement shows the recruiters that you are qualified for the job. This will hold their attention right from the beginning of your letter.

You can also take these additional steps to create an impactful cover letter:

  • Have a Unique Selling Proposition (USP): An advertising term, the USP is the one thing that makes you better qualified to do the job than anyone else. The USP should answer the question: "Why should I hire this person?"
  • Be yourself: A “formula” approach is fine, but each letter should reflect your personality and your enthusiasm. Let it shine through. Take pride in who you are and what you’ve done. The reader is looking for a human being, a person who knows what he or she can offer and can express it well.
  • Have a clearer expression: Most people come close to expressing what they really want to say but usually miss the target. Take the time to craft your words and sentences to mean exactly what you intend and you’ll be in great shape. Ask others to review your letter/CV to ensure that you’re communicating what you want to say.
  • Write in the active tense: Active verbs are the key when writing cover letters and CV. Instead of saying, “ best attributes include team play and motivating people,” say “I’m a dedicated team player who can motivate people…” The latter promises a go-getter employee – someone who can take action instead of waiting to be led by the hand.


15. Should I Only Talk About Myself In A Cover Letter?

While a cover letter is a good way for you to sell yourself to the employer as the best candidate, it is still best that you don’t spend the entire letter saying a lot of “I”, “My”, “Me”.

Of course, talk about your skills, experiences, qualifications, but remember to also consider the company’s interest and how you are going to add value to them. Talk about yourself and always redirect a sentence to how it benefits the company.

Your cover letter is an important tool to utilize when is comes to convincing a potential employer on why they should hire you, put in effort while creating it.

Use the answers and guidelines provided in this article, the next time you want to apply for a job.



Related Post: 


Staff Writer

This article was written and edited by a staff writer.

Leave a Comment

Login required
Related Post
Top Post