You’ve spent ages on your CV, poring over it again and again to make sure that it contains all of the information vital for your perfect job, so why ruin your chances of taking the position you dream of by making the Cover Letter nothing more than an afterthought?
If you think that the CV is there to do the hard work and the Cover Letter will act as a simple, polite, introduction then you couldn’t be more wrong.
In today’s extremely competitive job market, employers don’t have to waste time on those who are just going to state the obvious and not use an opportunity to highlight their skills and strengths.
It is imperative that your Cover Letter and CV should work in tandem and complement each other, the Cover Letter drawing attention to the skills which are relevant to the job and the CV expanding on them. Writing the two in isolation will mean they have little bearing on each other which will give a disjointed feel to the recruiter reading them.
Your Cover Letter shouldn’t be so long that you repeat the contents of your CV, thus making it redundant, but it should at least set out the basics in order for your CV to detail your key attributes and your suitability for the vacancy.
From your covering letter, the employer wants to know:
Who you are and what job you want
Begin with a clear indication of the job you’re applying for and where you heard about it. If you have the name of a direct contact or referral, this is the place to mention it. Dropping a familiar name is going to be an effective way of catching someone’s eye.
What relevant skills you have and how you’ll apply them
In paragraph two you should outline key aspects of the job and make direct comparisons with skills and experience you have.
That you really understand what’s required of you
Ensure you focus on the most important aspects of the role and make sure you relate them directly to recent and relevant experience. Remember, though this is your individual application for the job, do not attempt to write an application letter directly from the job advert.
If you have any additional skills over and above the job advert
In the next paragraph add any supporting information you feel is necessary, such as applied aspects of the role or what additional skills you can bring over and above the job specification.
Have a positive and professional attitude
Ensure your tone is confident and positive but don’t overdo it otherwise you may come across as arrogant or pushy. Remember you’re trying to get an interview, so you want to come across as a personable individual.
Have taken time to get to know their business
Try to find out the name of the person responsible for recruiting the role and some key company information can also show that you’ve done your homework.
Are concise, business like and to the point
Make sure your cover letter does not exceed one page. It should really only be about four or five paragraphs. It should also be in the same font and the same point size as your CV.
That you really, really want this job
Finally, you should sum up. Reaffirm you interest in the role, the company and the challenges ahead. Thank the recruiter for taking the time to consider your application.
Remember then to sign off “yours sincerely” opposed to “yours faithfully”.