4 Points You Need In A Cover Letter!
Sending a cover letter with your CV provides the best possible opportunity to sell yourself to a potential employer and to make your application stand out from the others. So, whether you are asked to provide one or not, you should always include a covering letter when applying for a job.
A covering letter has the dual purpose of being your first chance to make an impression with your prospective employer, make them want to read your CV and meet you; it should also identify you as a good, if not the best, candidate for the role by linking your skills and experience to the requirements of the employer.
Ideally, your covering letter should not exceed 1 side of A4, should be clear and concise and written in a standard letter format; remember it’s a formal application for a job, not a friendly exchange of views with your friends.
1. Make Yourself Clear
Clearly state what job that you are applying for and where you found out about it.
2. Explain Your Interest
Explain why you’re interested in the role and for working at the company; Use this section to show your knowledge of the company (e.g. their products, services, position in their industry or main competitors), your understanding of the position on offer and your motivation for applying.
3. Highlight Your Skills, Experience and Knowledge
Show how they relate directly to what the employer wants (use the job advert to find out what the key requirements are); Show what you can do for the company. Remember; your CV has all the ‘facts and figures’ about your career, you don’t need to repeat those in the cover letter, but you clearly summarise your key strengths for the role.
4. End Your Letter Positively
Show that you are ready to proceed to the next stage of recruitment. Let the employer know you are enthusiastic about the role and committed to working with the organisation.
So To Sum Up…
…It should, by now, be clear that a covering letter needs to be tailored directly to each role you are applying for; you can’t have a generic one as that will just show your potential employer that you’re not prepared to put the effort in. So, as with any application, you will need to do your research and spend time thinking about how you fit the role and why this employer should consider hiring you. The upside of this extra effort is that, when you get called in for an interview, you will already have done much of the research and preparation needed to be successful.
You can also use your covering letter to explain any gaps in your work history (e.g. periods of unemployment); employers will want to know what you were doing during these periods.
Finally, 2 important points – don’t be tempted to send only a very basic covering letter; you need to be saying much more about yourself and your skills than simply “Please find enclosed my CV” and make sure you sense check and spell check your letter; there’s nothing worse than applying for a job and spelling the company name incorrectly!