Alongside CV’s, many potential employers now expect a cover letter too. This is an integral part of any job application, as it further explains why you’re the best fit for the job. It can feel slightly daunting to write a cover letter, especially if you’re not very confident in talking about yourself.
But worry not, just read on and we’ll have you writing the perfect cover letter in no time at all!
What is a cover letter?
As you well know, a CV is the standard way of applying for jobs. But more and more companies are looking for a cover letter as well. A cover letter goes a lot deeper than a CV and it’s a chance to really show your passion and personality, which you don’t have much room for in a CV.
The key thing about writing a cover letter, as with writing a CV, is to make sure it’s well-written and tailored for the job you want. If you’re using the same draft for every job, you may as well not send one at all.
What to include?
You should set out your cover letter like you would any formal letter, with your contact details at the top of the page. Of course, some companies prefer you to email them, in which case you should lay it out like a formal email and there is no need to include your contact info.
You should state which job you’re applying for and a direct address to the hiring manger. This shows you’ve read the job info well and have remembered who to contact – a brilliant start. You should also include a brief description on why you’d be good for the role, any relevant skills and experience you have, a conclusion – summing up your letter.
You should also include a call to action and your signature – this doesn’t mean your actual scribble – but your full name. A cover letter should never be signed off with just your first name – it comes across as unprofessional and remember they don’t even know you yet!
Read the job description
In order to write a perfect cover letter, you should know the job description back to front. You should have picked up on and highlighted the key words they’ve used. Make good use of the person specification too – this is what they’re looking for when hiring.
But don’t just copy and paste what they’ve written into your cover letter. Use different words and phrases to show that you’ve read it and understood it.
Match your CV
Your cover letter and CV need to be best friends. They should complement each other, and build off one another. If you’ve briefly mentioned something relevant on your CV, be sure to include it in more detail on your cover letter.
Be sure that both your CV and cover letter give the employer a real insight into who you are as a person, and not just what you can do or the skills you have. Remember you are one applicant among many – you need to make yourself stand out.
Reiterate your skills
On your CV you should have put some of your key skills and achievement. In your cover letter you should elaborate on these and give some brief examples of this. For example, if one of your key skills is using a certain software, then ensure you give an example of using this software to your previous company’s benefit.
End on a high
Don’t apologise for any skills you may lack, as it draws attention away from the many skills you do have. If you do want to include any lack of skills, turn it around to a positive and relate it to a transferable skill you do have.
You should also end your letter with a call to action such as “I will look forward to hearing from you” or “please get in touch if you would like to discuss anything else”. This is confident and positive and will leave your potential employers impressed.