Ready to start your new job search?
You’re going to need a cover letter first.
After you’ve spent hours crafting the perfect CV, it can feel superfluous to refine what you’ve already said into a cover letter. However, a cover letter is more than just a succinct version of your application. This simple document highlights critical information about your personality and the unique things you can bring to a role.
As the ultimate way to show employers that you’ve done your research and gone the extra mile for a role, a cover letter can be essential to your recruitment experience. In fact, 57.1% of professionals say that this letter is an essential component of the job search.
So, how can you craft the ultimate cover letter?
Do Your Research
As other parts of the recruitment world continue to change, one thing remains the same: research will always be essential to a successful application. Hiring managers want to see evidence that they’re not just getting the same copy-pasted response as everyone else. A well-crafted cover letter, complete with background information about the company you’re applying to work with demonstrates that you’re genuinely interested in the role.
Before you start writing:
Speak to your recruitment agencies about the competencies the business is looking for in its candidates, show them in your cover letter.
Look at the organisation’s website and social media pages and find ways to demonstrate how you’ll fit with their company culture.
Find out who will be reading your cover letter and address them directly.
Tailor your Cover Letter to the Role
Just as your cover letter needs to be uniquely tailored to every business you apply to work with; it also needs to be tailored to suit the position you’re applying for. Write a cover letter your hiring manager won’t be able to ignore, by carefully reviewing the job description, and making a list of specific skills and experiences the company is looking for.
Include any keywords or phrases you find in the job description, like “dedication” or “attention-to-detail” in your description of yourself. Where possible, include evidence that you possess those characteristics. For instance, if you’re applying for a managerial role that requires good organisation skills, highlight the sizes of teams you’ve managed before, and the deadlines you’ve worked to.
If specific numbers appear in the job specs – such as for the amount of experience the ideal candidate would need, match those numbers in your cover letter too.
Show Some Personality
There’s a fine line between demonstrating your unique attitude in your cover letter and being too informal. Rather than showing your personality by telling jokes or using slang, look for ways that you can highlight your passion for the career in question.
Describe how your personal values resonate with the goals of the organisation. Discuss how previous positions have helped to prepare you for this role. If you’re a new graduate looking for a chance to shine, draw attention to previous volunteer positions you’ve held, or training you’ve done, that’s relevant to the job.
Remember, your employer wants more than just a warm body – they want someone dedicated to their new role.
Keep it Short and Sweet
While there are plenty of things you can include in your cover letter to make it more interesting, it’s important to make sure that you don’t get too carried away. You don’t need to tell your life story or talk about every role you’ve had that’s like the one you’re applying for.
Make sure you’re only including the most relevant information on your letter and eliminate anything obvious that you’re simply copying and pasting from your CV. Focus on keeping your cover letter as concise as possible, while drawing attention to all the key reasons why you’re perfect for this job.
If it helps, use bullet points to keep your cover letter focused.
Proofread Carefully and End on a High Note
Once you’re convinced that you’ve written a powerful introduction for your CV, go through your work and check for any errors. No recruitment agency or hiring manager wants to see grammatical errors and typos on your cover letter. In fact, too many mistakes may even make a lasting impression on your personal brand, and give you a reputation for shoddy work.
Ask a friend to go through your letter and CV for you too, and check for any issues you might have missed. Once you’re sure everything sounds perfect, make sure that you end your letter on a high note. Use a sentence or two to reiterate why you’re the right person for the job.