A Cover Letter is more than just a professional introduction; it gives a potential employer more insight into the relevant skills and abilities that you listed in your Resume. Job searchers are usually aware of the more obvious details you should include in a Cover Letter, like contact information or summaries of past work experience.
However, a Cover Letter doesn’t just have to be a sales pitch about you. It can also be a good place to let a potential employer know about other details that are relevant, but don’t really belong on your Resume.
In this post, we take a look at some common things you should address in your Cover Letter that help make your application more transparent and accurate.
Addressing Your Location in Your Cover Letter
If you’re applying for jobs outside of where you are currently living, it might be a good idea to explain why in your Cover Letter.
Although in some industries it may be common for employers to receive applications from candidates outside of their local area, it is not always the case. Explaining that you are, for instance, preparing to move to the location soon or are willing to relocate for work purposes gives the employer a clear idea of your intentions, and aids in the transparency of your application.
Some jobs offer remote work positions, and in that case, stating your location in your Cover Letter might not be entirely necessary, but could still prove to be helpful for your potential employer by allowing them to plan ahead if they decide to hire you when considering how time zone differences might affect your work schedule, as an example.
Listing Your Preferred Work Hours in Your Cover Letter
Usually, a job posting includes information about the number of hours an employee in that position is expected to work per week, as well as what type of position it is (full time, part time, contract, or temporary), but occasionally employers forget to include this important detail.
Similar to listing your location, stating your preferred work hours in your Cover Letter benefits you and your potential employer by reducing confusion about your intentions, and preventing either of you from wasting your time if the employer can’t accommodate your preferred work schedule.
Mentioning Your Preferred Start Date in Your Cover Letter
When you apply for a job, the employer will most likely assume that you are either ready to start immediately or some time in the near future. Most employers also understand that it’s common for applicants who are switching jobs to give at least two weeks’ notice to their current employer before they transition to a new company.
However, there may be cases where you won’t be able to start until a certain date, so it might be a good idea to include that date in your Cover Letter, and a short (but relevant) description of the reason why.
For instance, if your current job is contract-based and your contract will be ending on a date three or four months from the date you applied for your new job, you should address it in your Cover Letter. Explaining that you have an obligation to finish your contract before being able to start a position with a new company will prevent a potentially awkward conversation later when you have to explain why you can’t start on the date expected.
Mentioning Reasons for a Career Change in Your Cover Letter
Aside from writing your Resume for a career change, your Cover Letter should also explain your intention to change careers if you’re applying for a job in a completely different field than what most of your experience has been in.
Your Cover Letter can be a good place to go into a bit more detail about why you decided to change career paths, and what you’ve done to prepare for your new career choice (such as volunteering, education, training, etc.)
For instance, perhaps video game development has always been a passion of yours, so in your spare time you took several programming and game development-focused courses, and maybe even volunteered your time to help program some aspect of a game for a local video game company. While you would want to include the details of these endeavors in your Resume, you could introduce them in your Cover Letter.
Adding Important Details to Your Cover Letter
Generally, the first thing a potential employer sees when they are looking at your application is your Cover Letter. That’s why it’s important to make sure it includes accurate details about your professional persona so that both you and your employer are on the same page when it comes to work location, hours, start date, and more.