Employers always scan the candidate profile before making a decision to shortlist them. An applicant's first point of contact with a potential employer is typically a formal business letter known as a cover letter. It acts as an overview of the applicant and their relevant experience. Employers have their own thoughts about inclusions in the cover letters that candidates must pay attention to.
As per the reports by various Job Fairs and Recruiters, they go through a lot of cover letters along with the CVs of interns applying for their internship program. Their CVs mostly are not elaborate due to lack of years of experience. Recruiters mostly rely on cover letters that speak about the candidate skills, interest level, communication aspect and much more. The Cover Letter alone, often helps in shortlisting candidates for Internships.
We did some research and also spoke to some employers about what they actually look for in a cover letter for Freshers and interns that help them hire the best candidates. Let’s take a look below at what we found out:
1. The candidates should know what position they are applying for:
If the cover letter seems mumbled, then recruiters don’t bother going ahead with the profile. The least they should know is what kind of internship they are applying for. Clarity is of utmost importance. If the Cover Letter isn't fulfilling the purpose, employers don't encourage that application.
2. Details of education and alma mater:
Employers do not really hire candidates on the basis of where they received the education from. But they definitely like to understand the qualifications, projects done and name of university to get an idea of candidate background. Some elite institutes do garner attention but at the end of the day it's all about right skills.
3. “To whomever it may concern” is a showdown:
Interns should start with Dear Sir/Madam or Dear Hiring Manager. The above phrase gives a very vague feeling as if the candidate simply doesn’t care about where he is applying. It shows their lack of knowledge about cover letters too, which is not appreciated much.
4. Customise the letter as per company:
It’s not taken as a good sign that the same cover letter is found on the CVs sent to other companies as well. There have been cases where candidates send the exact same cover letter to different companies, and it turned out, 3 of them were sister concerns of one of the companies. Recruiters don’t really entertain this as this shows their lack of actual interest in their company.
5. Brief about relevant skills:
A brief, not an essay, about their skills is considered enough. There are ways to write them on a cover letter. Note that crisp information shows a lot about the communication skills of the candidate. Highlighted data is preferred instead of stories.
6. Reason to join the company:
Employers like to know the reasons a candidate is interested in joining their company to start their career. It’s a proud moment for any company for people wanting to join them for whatever reasons. When they see the excitement in the cover letter, the candidates are called over quickly for interviews.
7. Why do they think they are the best for this internships program?:
This is important. Companies stress on this fact that if the candidates cannot sell themselves through their cover letter. So candidates who know why are they better than the best and show it on the letters are shortlisted quickly. Employers must hire people with good convincing powers. Their skills are their growth carriers. Hence, the interview panel should stress on this aspect.
Including the above points in creating a cover letter shows the candidates efforts, as many employers state when we gathered their responses. They press upon the fact that communication is the key. Good communication pays well and even if the candidate lacks in skills by 2 points, clear and concise writing says a lot. If they showcase the right blend of their view of the company and excitement to join it, there’s nothing that can stop them from joining their dream company.
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