Out there it is survival of the fittest. Your cover letter introduces you to the interviewer. It’s likely that, in 30 seconds or less, they would have decided whether or not to interview you.
Making a first impression is so important when applying for a job. You won’t be there in person (yet) to let your personality shine through so your cover letter needs to that for you. A knock-out cover letter is essential for getting noticed (for all the right reasons of course). Here are our top tips how.
Show The Initiative
Learn more about the company before you apply. This will help you:
- Write a custom cover letter that is genuine in content and intent.
- Set yourself apart from other generic applications.
- Show the recruiter or company that you are proactive.
- Prepare for the interview if you are asked to attend one.
Get Right To It
Raise the criteria listed in the job advert.
- Explain how your skills matched what is required from the position.
- Justify why your work experience is a match and how they may contribute to the overall success of the company.
- Now is also the time to mention any achievements or accolades that are relevant to the job you are applying for.
Go The Extra Mile
Never ever start your cover letter with the phrase “To Whom It May Concern” or “Pleas find attached my CV”.
- Personalise your cover letter with the recruiter/recipients name.
- This will show that you are proactive and add a personal touch.
- If every sentence starts with “I” you need to redirect your focus back to the company’s needs.
Be An Individual
Don’t send a generic (copy and paste) cover letter.
- A customised message is what will set your CV apart from other job seekers applying for the same job.
- Write an unique cover letter for every job application.
- Make sure you address the points raised in the job ad/job spec and how you can assist in your capacity as a valid candidate.
- Most of all, show them the value you can add as a successful candidate.
- Don’t be afraid to use humour when it’s applicable – but keep it professional (this works well if you know a company has a very relaxed office culture).
- Refrain from using sad or negative narratives as a means to invoke sympathy.
Short & Sweet
Make sure your cover letter is short and to the point:
- Aim for no more than 250-350 words.
- Keep it factually-driven, packed with powerful words.
- Use bullet points wherever possible. Stay on-topic and to specifics.
- Keep the tone upbeat bit not too enthusiastic.
No Room For Error
Make sure your message is 100% error-free. One spelling error is going to cast a storm cloud on your chances of being invited to an interview. If you’re not that great at proof-reading, get a friend or family member to proof-read it for you. You get one change so make sure it counts.
Keep It Balanced
Try not to oversell yourself but,
- Focus on the position you are applying for and how YOU can help the company.
- Explain why you are a good fit taking into account your skills and experience
- Be clear how you can add value to the company.
Use our cover letter example below as a guide to write your own unique introduction for every job you apply for.
TEXT VERSION (remember to customise!)
I am very interested in the advertised position for a [job title] you are currently advertising. My qualifications and professional work skills would make me an ideal candidate for consideration.
Together with my [add personal/skills] I would make a valuable contribution to the team at [company name here] and I am eager to speak about this position in more detail should I be contacted for an interview.
I look forward to hear from you and discuss how my combination of [add skills here] and [add work experience] would help contribute real measurable value to [company name here].
Thank you in advance for your consideration.