In some instances a cover letter can be more important than your CV. It might be the first time an employer learns anything about you and the reason they decide whether or not to look at your CV at all or consider your for the role.
A cover letter should be no more than one page and should be a kind of “taste” or summary of you, your experience and why you are perfect for a particular job.
It should be a professional letter in a simple font (Arial, Verdana or Times) and at 10 to 12 points in size. It should include your contact details at the top, the date and a professional sign off.
what’s it for?
A cover letter is a chance to include things that might be missing from your CV – for example those three years you went travelling, as well as why you would be the ideal candidate for the job. It’s also another tool you can use to stand out from the crowd and use some creativity in your applications.
Be aware that not every company wants a cover letter, and if they state that they do not want one, do not write or send one. However, lots of companies do like to see a cover letter alongside a CV to get a good initial idea about you.
what not to do
one cover letter fits all - DO NOT send a vague or generic cover letter (or CV). Simply saying that you would be great for the position but not why you would be great, is not enough. This suggests that you haven’t done your research or spent anytime tailoring your experience to fit this role.
write too many words - Do not waffle or make the letter any longer than one page, you will lose the interest of the employer and it may hinder your chances at getting through to the interview stage. Make sure your letter is engaging, relevant and as perfect as you.
make sure your cover letter…
includes specific job qualities
First of all, look at the job description to see what “qualities” the employer is looking for. Then make sure you highlight each of those qualities in your letter with an example of how you have achieved each one or even a success story. This will show that you have understood the description and will make their assessment of your qualities much easier. It will also highlight what you will bring if you join their business.
Employers see hundreds of letters for every job, and so it doesn’t hurt to add some flair to your letter and ideally some passion. For example, show how you went above and beyond or how your personal experience adds to your ability to perform the role well. It’s also a good idea to include some more in-depth reasons why you would love to work for the company, this could be about their ethics or product and how it relates to you.
includes contact info
Make it as easy as possible for the employer to contact you and include your contact details at the end of the letter, as well as at the beginning. Include a local mobile number and email address and let them know you are keen to talk them through your experience and discuss this opportunity. If you have a personal website you should also include this in your sign off as well as at the top of the letter.
contains no spelling mistakes
If you are claiming “attention to detail” in your CV and cover letter make sure that your letter has been proofread and contains no errors. Have someone else check it for you every time you finish a new letter, there’s nothing like two pairs of eyes!
Posted: Friday, 7 April 2017 - 9:00 AM