Your cover letter is not just a protector sheet for your CV, it is the opportunity for you to differentiate yourself from other candidates in that very first initial view.
Each individual cover letter should be bespoke to the job you are applying for, so even though you may have finally perfected your CV, your cover letter will always need working on.
Making your cover letter short & sweet, yet informative is undoubtedly the first rule to abide to. Make sure it isn’t longer than a single page of A4, if possible try to make it between 3 and 5 paragraphs. Keep your language to the point, brevity is key.
Your cover letter for each job should be unique, this first and foremost shows that you have taken time, effort and desire to apply to that specific job instead of just dishing out CVs to any job.
If you can, try to write directly to a named person (the hiring manager), rather than simply ‘Dear Sir/Madam’.
Try to differentiate each letter specific to the company and industry you are applying to.
This is pretty self-explanatory and definitely obvious but it is one of the most likely errors that someone can make on their cover letter. Remember, your cover letter is the very first thing that the recruiter/employer will read, so that first impression is key!
Briefly introduce yourself and explain why you’re applying. If you are directly responding to a job advert, then state this and also briefly list your passions and what makes you a strong candidate to join the specific department & company.
Why do you have an interest in this specific job and want to work for this organisation? This is where you really show that you’re not just sending out masses of the same CV/cover letter combo to everywhere. Try to pick out a specific aspect of the prospective company that appeals to you and relate yourself to this.
Be particular as to why the position is attractive to you and back it up with evidence from your career history (if possible) or future career aspirations.
Present yourself here as the solution to your hiring managers problem. Relate to the ‘needs’ expressed in the job description and highlight how your experience and knowledge matches the requirements outlined in the job description.
Stay away from using phrases contained in your CV, focus on your accomplishments and transferable skills and state clearly how you match the job criteria.
Support your claims by referring to relevant examples that you have detailed in your CV. Make these stronger and more credible by interlinking a variety of experience that highlight similar experiences/skills.
Iterate once again why you want to join the organisation and why your skills are the perfect fit for the job. A short and sweet conclusion will make the hiring manager/recruiter want to keep reading on for your CV.
A cover letter is not just a repetition of your whole CV, this is your personal introduction to provide the information that makes you suited to the vacancy. It should highlight your experience and skills, which are directly related to the job.
Recruiters and employers alike will regularly disregard CVs that aren’t accompanied with a cover letter, so ensure you are putting in the extra effort, and produce a CV/cover letter combination that will put you at the top of the pile.
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