Job Tips: Four Ways To Improve Your Cover Letter
Recruiters read hundreds, if not thousands, of CVs and applications during their days, so why not do them a favour and send them a concise, original and well-written cover letter? And the best bit is it's really not hard to do. Here's how:
Keep it short
This is key. Presuming your CV already runs to two pages (as we've mentioned before, two pages should be your maximum), then a cover letter amounting to anything more than one side of A4 is just too much to expect a recruiter to trawl through.
Four or five paragraphs should be all you need to sell yourself - and anything more than that probably won't be read anyway.
Recruiters and employers want to be impressed within seconds, so don't be shy; confidently tell them why you're right for this job and why you deserve an interview.
Keep it consistent and error-free
Recruiters and employers are suckers for attention to detail, so stick to a font/style/tone and stick to it. Keep it professional by addressing the letter to a named person, but if you don't know their details, then check on the employer's website to see who's in charge of recruitment or who's the head of your particular department. If you still can't find a name to put on the top of your covering letter, then a quick phone call should do the trick.
Statistics are a great way to grab attention, so feel free to include them, and if you need to condense lots of information into a smaller space then consider using bullet points.
Also, making sure your letter's free of spelling mistakes and grammatical errors is, of course, crucial to any hopes you have of securing a job interview, so don't give the employer reason to doubt you.
Keep it structured
You haven't got much space to sell yourself, so it's important to use each paragraph wisely. Start off with a quick introduction - tell them how you heard about the job and that they can find your CV included.
Next up should be a few words about why you're interested in this particular role and how you think it fits in with your career plans. Take this opportunity to show you've done your research and that you know about the company and who they're looking for.
Now spend the next paragraph or two explaining why they'd be fools not to invite you in for an interview. What can you bring to the company? Why are you right for this role?
All of this should be written specifically for each individual job, so don't consider sending off that generic covering letter that didn't work on your last five applications.
Keep it positive
It's important to end on a positive note, so spend the last paragraph thanking them for their consideration, detailing when you'll be available for interview (if appropriate) and stating that you look forward to hearing from them.
Finally, ensure that your contact details are all included and up to date and then run through your covering letter to make sure it's error-free.