You can get swamped by the amount of information and advice that’s available in books and websites about how to create the perfect CV, but there’s comparatively little to help you when it comes to writing that all-winning CV cover letter. It’s a must have if you wish to boost you application, helping you to secure a job interview and the next step in your career. So here are some tips:
Always write a CV cover letter
Everything has become a little less formal with email now the main medium for making job applications, but employers still want to receive cover letters from candidates. Leaving one out could spoil your chance of gaining the job you really want, so you should only ever not include one if you are explicitly told to do so.
CV cover letters are a chance to impress
Remembering that they are your first chance to impress a recruiter will put you in good stead. So write it in a way that expresses why you are the best candidate for a particular position, giving examples from your past employment that highlight the specific skills and experience required by the employer for the advertised post. You will increase your chances if you write your CV cover letter in a targeted way, generic ones will not stand out.
Demonstrate your professionalism
Show that you are an original thinker able to write succinctly. Recruiters often won’t be impressed if you send your online application, or any application for that matter, without a CV cover letter.
Asking a friend occasionally for feedback can sometimes help to ensure that your letter is free of typographical errors, as spell checking tools often don’t pick them all up. The following points are also important:
- Your initial sentences should demonstrate why you are applying for the advertised job. You can even include headings to attract the recruiter’s attention.
- Clichés and insincerities should be avoided. Don’t exaggerate your skills and experience as you will have to justify them in an interview.
- Back up you claims with evidence, such as “I increased sales by 14% over a one month period.” This sort of evidence will show you are qualified if you are going for a sales position, while other kinds of jobs will have other ways of measuring your success. Mentioning such examples could help you succeed.
- Keep your CV cover letter to one side of A4 and provide clear contact details, which will make it easier for recruiters to understand you and make contact.
- Using standardised fonts and white paper will give the right impression. Employers are often put off candidates when they receive fancy fonts or CV and cover letters typed on coloured paper.
- Research the company to tailor your response. Think about the activities that the firm is involved in and about what might impress the recruiter. This includes making sure that your cover letter refers to the job in question, the industry it is active in, and the company itself. You then need to explain why you’re suited to all of these.
- Whenever possible address the recruiter by name. You will look lazy if you just write “Dear Sir/Madam” when a name has been provided. Reading the advertisement and making sure that you address the person who placed it will show that you know who you’re writing to and why. Also make sure that you don’t spell the person’s name wrong, and that you refer to the right person.
- Take your time. You should spend at least 30 minutes to an hour writing each cover letter, taking your time to ensure that each one hits the mark and adequately demonstrates why you are the ideal candidate. Remember, bespoke applications will put you a step closer to attaining the job you want. Templated CVs and cover letters just won’t impress anyone, so demonstrate some effort to inspire recruiters.
Don’t forget that you don’t have to write heaps of text in order to be invited to an interview. It’s about the quality of the information you provide, not about the word count. Employers like to read cover letters that get to the point, so make yours as short as possible – two or three paragraphs are sufficient.
If you follow these tips you should attract the attention of recruiters, making it easier for them to eliminate applicants who haven’t put in as much effort as you, while showing you have the ability to prioritise and write succinctly.
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