Writing A Cover Letter

Cover letters are a powerful document that will make the difference between getting an interview, and not.

Writing A Cover Letter

Far too often, cover letters are a quickly-created addition to accompany a resume and fulfil a recruiter’s requirement for one, rather than being the powerful document that will make the difference between getting an interview, and not.

We’re firm believers that well-written cover letter is more important than an impressive resumé because it reveals your work ethic and attention to detail. It provides glimpses into your personality that a list of achievements can’t.

We’ve compiled a list of tips to help you create the ultimate cover letter, that will help you get noticed by a potential employer and secure an interview.

1. Always send a cover letter with your resume
We can’t stress this one enough! Your resume should always be accompanied by a cover letter, unless you are requested not to include one.

In an extremely competitive job market, failing to include a cover letter in your application can be a huge mistake. Consider your resume. It has most likely been written in short, succinct sentences, with the sole intention of demonstrating your skills and experiences relevant to the job on offer. A cover letter provides you with an opportunity to highlight relevant skills and experiences applicable to the role, and convey your enthusiasm for the job and passion for the industry.

2. Know your audience: Personalise your letter

Where possible, do not use generic greetings such as “Dear Employer” or “To Whom it May Concern” when addressing your cover letter to an employer. You should take the time to research the company to which you are applying – look on their website or make a call to determine the appropriate contact.

Where it is not possible to obtain a contact name, you should address the letter to the position of the contact, ie: Dear Recruitment Manager.

3. Hook them in

In the current competitive job market, it is likely that the hiring company will receive a large number of job applications for an advertised position. Consequently, your cover letter needs to ‘stand out’ from the others and grab the attention of the recruiter.

We're not suggesting printing your resume on scented paper and having it delivered by a sleigh pulled by unicorns, but you you should avoid creating a generic ‘form’ cover letter that shows little research or effort.

Start your cover letter by demonstrating why you should be considered for the job. For example, don’t write “I am applying for the advertised position of…”, instead, start your letter by selling yourself, ie: “As an accomplished Marketing Manager, I have extensive experience with international marketing strategies…”. As with your resume, you want your cover letter to stand out for the right reasons.

4. Do not repeat your resume

You’re submitting a resume along with your cover letter, why waste the cover letter repeating what’s already been said! The cover letter is your opportunity to expand on the highlights of your resume, discuss any key skills you bring to the role that don’t fit within your resume and make it all relevant to the position you are applying for, while selling your value proposition!

Research the company and read the job advertisement to determine the key qualities they are looking for in an employee. Ensure that you address their requirements in your letter, by highlighting your transferrable skills and relevant accomplishments.

5. Use your connections

If you have heard about the job through a friend or networking connection, do not be afraid to mention this in your cover letter. If your connection is a current employee of the company, it puts pressure on the recruiter to keep that employee happy by considering you for the role. It also indicates that you have inside information on how the company operates, and its expectations.

6. Keep your letter short and neat
Ideally, a cover letter should be limited to one page, and be three to four paragraphs in length. Your cover letter should not be seen as an essay version of your resume. Your cover letter should be written in a concise, clear manner, with logical transitions between the paragraphs.

Ensure that your cover letter is pleasing to the eye. Use an easy to read font and font size. Your cover letter should look neat and professional.

7. Do not send the same cover letter to multiple companies

The entire purpose of a cover letter is to demonstrate why you are suitable to a specific job with a specific company. Hiring Managers and Recruitment Consultants are very adept at spotting mass mailed, generic cover letters, so you need to make sure you address the specific requirements of the job and the company.

8. Proofread your letter

Failing to check the grammar and spelling of your cover letter shows a lack of care that few employers are willing to overlook. It is essential that you proofread your cover letter for any spelling or grammatical errors, and then have another person double check it for you. You should ensure that you have spelt the company name and the name of the contact correctly, and have used appropriate capitalisation throughout the letter.

9. Follow up

You should follow up on your application after the deadline for submissions has been reached. This is best done by sending a short, polite email to the recruiter inquiring if the application process has begun. Do not call or email the recruiter on a daily basis to get updates on the status of your application.

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