Cover letters are your first sales pitch to a recruitment consultant or employer, and if you do not grab their attention and appeal to their interests straight away, they may not give your CV the attention it truly deserves.
A great cover letter is basically five statements of this general type:
Here I am and I largely match what you are looking for….
….This is the summary of my expertise that proves my claim
Here are some key achievements to reinforce my case; they show ….
…. The kind of contribution I plan to make, and my short term and long term goals are…
I’m grateful for your time and would like to discuss this further and get more detailed information and feedback from you
One brief paragraph should be assigned to each statement (written in the most elegant language you can, use a thesaurus, but don’t swallow it!) At this stage everything is about impact, not necessarily the detail you have in your CV. Do not repeat your CV in the letter.
Put Your Stamp On It
The majority of recruiters are accustomed to receiving cover letters that follow the same templates and this could actually hinder your application, rather than promote it. Imagine if a consultant sets their eyes on a personalised cover letter that instantly grabs their attention. By simply personalising the first paragraph of each cover letter for the position you are applying to, you will automatically stand out above the rest of the competition and boost your chances of an interview and possibly the job of your dreams.
Your cover letter should highlight your greatest qualities and show why you are the best candidate for the role.
Tailor Your Skills
Tailor your cover letter to the job you are applying for. Nobody wants to read a standard, “My name is… I am a…” statement.
Read through the job advert for the role you are applying for, and highlight how your key skills and experience match the role. This will give you a basis for writing your cover letter.
Matching your Skills:
Ability to Influence
Experience with International Projects
Here are some tips when writing a cover letter, which will help you stand out from the crowd:
You should always make sure you address your cover letter to the consultant in charge of hiring for the particular position.
Look at the job advert, as above - pick out key words or skills that are relevant to your specific capabilities and include them in your covering letter.
Make the letter as simple and concise as possible, ensuring that it is presented in a way that reads well.
Give reasons for your suitability for the role. Emphasise relevant qualifications, experience and interests.
Avoid starting your cover letter with tired phrases like “This letter is written in response to”, “Please consider this application for the position of" or “Enclosed please find” Opt for something specific to the role instead – perhaps a profile summary of your background, e.g. I am a tenacious Sales Executive with a solid background in advertising sales within the new media and online sectors, having represented UK and World-leading organisations across the media sector.
Never try to get your personality across in a cover letter, save it for the interview, and forget about being modest this is the time to show off. Be careful, however, you want to appear confident not arrogant.
State clearly when you are available for interview.
Make sure the letter sounds like you, not like something out of a book. Consultants and employers are looking for knowledge, enthusiasm and focus.
Proof-read your letter for errors. Make sure your letter has no spelling, typing, or grammatical errors. Job applicants are frequently rejected because of such mistakes.
Promote yourself as a professional in your field. Your letter should be as close to a business proposal as you can get – not a plea for an interview. What do you offer that is of value? What objectives can you help them achieve?
If you are posting your CV do not send photocopies, send original letters that do not look mass-produced, and do not use typewriters, dot matrix printers or hand write your cover letter.
Following all of the above will give you significantly more chance of progressing your application further, but also remember…
Forget to put the copy of your CV in with the letter or attach it to the email.
Be boring in your cover letter, try to be attentive, catchy and bold to grab the employers/consultants attention.
Use any clichés within your cover letters. Your consultant does not need you to tell them that your CV is enclosed or attached, they are perfectly aware your CV has accompanied your cover letter.
Forget to follow up with the consultant. Do not rely on them to call you for an interview (although they should do), call them and chase them up.
Send your letter (and CV) on paper, which has any grease, smudges or any unnecessary folds or wrinkles on it. Ensure the paper is clean and crisp.
Forget to personally sign the cover letter, by signing the cover letter you are adding a very personalised and real touch to it.
Remember, if you want to fully demonstrate to your potential employer what you are capable of, your cover letter must have enough impact to make them rush to the phone and arrange a first interview. Following these guidelines will help separate you from the other applicants and enable you to stand out from the crowd!
Did You Know?
Our professional recruitment consultants actively search The People Pod CV database daily? Candidates who add their CV are 50% more likely to find that perfect job.