Now that you’ve invested your time in ensuring that your digital presence, CV and LinkedIn profile are all in shipshape; and you have all the basics down of how to search for the perfect career opportunity, it’s important that the hard work doesn’t stop now. When employers are sifting through hundreds of good CVs, creating an impactful cover letter will make all the difference in catching the eye of hiring managers and making yourself stand out from the crowd.
A great cover letter will go a long way towards helping you secure an interview as it will make sure you set yourself apart from fellow applicants in a very positive way. Although writing cover letters can be time consuming, providing one alongside your CV will show prospective employers that you really want the job. To make sure you have the best cover letter we’ve put together a few tips to help you get the job of your dreams...
First off, under no circumstances should you be using the same cover letter for different job applications. Make sure each letter is tailored to the job and company in question, with specific examples of skills and achievements that will be of benefit to the specific role you’re applying for, and how your personality will suit the culture of business. Copy and pasting the same generic cover letter for every role will make you look lazy and bore the reader. Remember – your cover letter is your first chance to shine, so do not make it dull!
Your cover letter is not a casual introduction but a formal one. You should keep the formatting style to that of a business letter and make sure you include your address, the employers address, your phone number and email contact. Stick to easy to read fonts such as Arial or Times New Roman – not too large and not too small – a font size of 10 or 12 is ideal.
Concise, punchy, and clear language is paramount in making sure your potential future employer will look through your CV. Keep your information to either half a page or one page and nothing more – nobody has the time to read through long letters when there is such a high volume of applications. Make sure you introduce yourself and make a note of the job you’re applying for.
Try not to put too much focus on how the job will benefit you. Remember, employers are looking for someone who can help to achieve their business goals – they are not there to help fulfil your own objectives. Although you can note how the job fits with your own aims it’s better to stick with writing about how your skills will be of benefit to the employer and the specific job role in question.
Although employers are always looking for an element of self-awareness and will often question you on your weaknesses in interviews, this does not mean this is the first thing you should be pointing out in the cover letter. Your cover letter should focus on the skills and abilities that you have. If you have experience in the job role you are applying for it’s a good idea to mention it – however, if you do not, it’s probably best not to point this out.
Highlight any transferrable skills you’ve gleaned from your previous work and how they are transferrable to the role you are applying for – it’s always a good idea to demonstrate these skills by using a recent example. Although it might be tempting to point out your areas of improvement this is not going to help you secure your interview. Be confident in what you are saying and highlight your capabilities – you can talk about areas of improvement in the interview – if you are asked.
When rounding off your letter it’s imperative to thank the employer for reading your application. Thank them for their time and note that you will look forward to hearing from them.
Make sure you end the letter appropriately. Sign off ‘yours faithfully’ if you do not know the name of the hiring manager, or ‘yours sincerely’ if you do know it.
To ensure you’re as prepared as possible, check out the previous instalments of our career advice series, where we’ve covered topics from managing your digital footprint and writing the most effective CV, to bringing you advice on how you can find the perfect career for you.
Keep your eyes peeled for the next instalment, where we will be providing you with our expert tips on how you can prepare for the all-important first interview.
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