Cover letters can be the make or break when it comes to your job application. It provides a potential employer a glimpse into your personality and is an opportunity to sell yourself – something a resume can’t do alone.
A great cover letter is a preview of your CV, so highlighting experience and skills relevant to the job will help position you to score an interview. Here are a few ways to nail your sales pitch.
Do your research
If you’re applying for numerous jobs, the worst thing you can do is send the same cover letters. This is a sure-fire way to get weeded out before you ever had a chance.
Make sure you tailor the letter and use any key terms and phrases relevant from the job ad. Show interest in the company and tell them why you are interested in the job. Having a look at the company’s website to get a sense of the tone, language and culture is a good place to start.
Keep it brief
While it’s important for an employer to learn about you, they don’t want to read a five page essay, so be sure you keep your cover letter to about 250 words.
Use clear, direct language and avoid overly long sentences. A good way to showcase your skills is to pick your top three or four achievements and use a paragraph each to describe how they are relevant to the position – this will keep it concise and to the point.
Employers receive numerous cover letters and chances are most of them virtually look the same. You need to stand out from the repetitive drone and grab the reader’s attention from the get-go.
Find a way to convince them to keep reading. Here are 31 examples of attention-grabbing cover letter intros that will give you some inspiration.
Once you’ve finished writing your cover letter, leave it for an hour – make yourself a cup of tea, read the news or water the garden, then come back to it to ensure there are no grammatical errors or spelling mistakes. After you’ve done that, get someone else to look over it for you.
And before hitting send, read your cover letter out loud – if you get stuck on a sentence or fumble over a few words, you may need a small re-write to help with the flow.
Call to action
Don’t know who to address the letter to? Instead of using the outdated ‘Dear Sir/Madam’ line, call the company and ask them the name of the person you should address it to. This will demonstrate your interest in the role and your willingness to go the extra mile for your application.