You may be surprised to learn that a good cover letter is just as important as a good CV when applying for jobs. Employers want to be able to quickly scan your CV for your relevant skills, qualifications and expertise, but it is your cover letter that can help you stand out from the crowd by showcasing your personality and highlighting your interest in the role.
However, employers usually have a large number of applications to sift through, so although your cover letter needs to pack a punch, it should also be clear, concise and to the point.
If you’re unsure of how to write a cover letter, read on for our top tips.
Research The Role You Are Applying For
Having a standard cover letter that you send out with every CV is the worst thing you can do. Instead, like your CV, your cover letter should be tailored to the role you are applying for. With this in mind, it is necessary to thoroughly research the company and the position you wish to apply for, and build upon the information in your CV throughout your cover letter.
Your cover letter needs to let the employer know why they should hire you. It must draw their attention to your CV, and prove to them that you are the best possible person for the job. Due to this, your cover letter needs to be tailored to that company, to demonstrate your interest in the company and the position. Make sure your letter is neatly typed, and it should not be more than one side of A4, but the shorter you can make it, the better.
Address The Recruiter By Name
Marketing professionals know that people pay a lot more attention to something that addresses them by name than a generic greeting. This is also true for recruiters.
Find out the name of the person that is handling the job applications, and address your cover letter to them directly. It may be listed on the job advert, or you can call the company to ask for a name. Not only does this show initiative on your part, but it will also make your application that bit more personal. A name carries much more weight than a generic ‘Dear Sir / Madam’.
How To Structure Your Cover Letter
Remember, your cover letter needs to make your point while remaining brief. Split your cover letter into clear paragraphs, and explain in the opening why it is that you are writing to the company. It is also a good idea to state where you found their advertisement, or who referred you to the position.
In your second paragraph, briefly explain why you are suitable for the job. Outline your professional and academic qualifications that are relevant to the job you are applying for, and make sure you tailor this to the job specification. You don’t need to go into a lot of detail here as this will already be in your CV, but make sure it is obvious that you have the skills necessary to do the job.
In your third paragraph, you can use this opportunity to emphasise your value, and what you can do for the company in your new role. Clearly state what your ambitions are in relation to the role you are applying for, and how this job matches your career goals.
Finally, in your closing paragraph, it is a good idea to once again state your keen interest in the job and why you would be the best possible fit. State that you are looking forward to discussing the role further. Close the letter with ‘Yours sincerely’ if you know the name of the person to whom you are writing, otherwise, sign off with ‘Yours faithfully’. Finally, it’s a good idea to sign the letter above your typed name, so leave a space for you to do that.
Why Is A Cover Letter So Important?
Your cover letter is your first impression, and we all know how important they can be. Simply sending in your CV without a cover letter is like leaving your application half done. Your cover letter is a chance for an employer to meet the person behind the CV, and if it is poorly written, with poor spelling and grammar or carelessly handwritten, then immediately you will not have made a good impression.
Your CV is brief, factual and to the point, and as a result it will rarely include any paragraphs that showcase your writing style and your personality. Your cover letter makes an even bigger impact than your CV about your suitability for a role, as it is personal and it makes a statement about who you are to the employer.