Most job hunters spend hours crafting the perfect CV, knowing that this is one of the best ways of showing your experience and qualifications. But just as important is the cover letter which you send off with your CV. This is your chance to sell yourself, and secure an all-important interview. Lots of people get cover letters very wrong. So here are our top tips for writing a killer cover letter.
We know that it’s time-consuming to write a fresh letter for each job you apply for. However, employers can spot a generic cover letter a mile off. It’s really worth taking the time and making an effort to come up with something original for every position. This also gives the opportunity for you to state exactly why you deserve an interview for the vacancy.
Go Beyond Your CV
Too many people just reiterate facts which have already been stated on their CV. Don’t just make generic statements such as “I managed a team of six people”. This is your opportunity to talk a bit more about the approach you took to meet challenges in your last job, or give a few more details to illustrate your experience. Try to use the words and phrases included on the job advert when crafting your letter. If, for example, the advert talks about someone being “detail-focused”, explain how you developed that skill in a past job.
Keep it Brief
Although it’s very tempting to write the equivalent of War and Peace, explaining every aspect of your experience and qualifications, there’s no need to do so. The idea is to give the employer enough information to help them decide whether it’s worth calling you for interview or not. Leave the smaller details for interview should they wish to ask. Concentrate on your major achievements and most important experience. On side of A4 paper, either handwritten or typed, is plenty for a covering letter.
Spellcheck and Proofread
Employers often receive hundreds of covering letters and have to come up with a quick and easy way of cutting them down to decide who to interview. Often, anyone who hasn’t followed specific instructions such as sending a handwritten letter or printing your CV in black ink will have their application rejected. The same applies to spelling mistakes and grammatical errors, so get someone to check over your cover letter before hitting the send button.
Get The Right Name
Starting your letter “to whom it may concern” or “Dear Sir” isn’t the approach you’ll looking for when applying for a job. If a name is given on the advert, address your letter to that person. If not, it might be worth calling the company to ask. At the end of the letter, try to finish with remark about hoping to hear from them soon, or encouraging them to contact you if they require more details. Always remember to include your own name and contact details so they can contact you to offer you an interview.