As is the case for most job applications, a cover letter is usually required. A good cover letter could be the difference between obtaining an interview or your CV being ignored. So, it makes sense to dedicate a good amount of time and effort to writing an effective cover letter. Here are some top tips on how to write a cover letter and how to get your CV noticed by both recruiters and hiring managers.
What exactly is a cover letter?
Before you start drafting your cover letter, it is best to get familiar with the exact purpose of a cover letter. A cover letter is simply a document that is sent with your CV to provide additional information on your skills and experience, relevant to the position you are applying for. Ultimately, your cover letter should provide detailed information as to why you are qualified for the job. It shouldn’t be a repeat of your CV, it should instead include details on why you’re a strong candidate for the job role. It may be useful to think of your cover letter as a sales pitch that showcases your credentials that can help you progress to an interview. Finally, a cover letter should make the best impression possible on the person reviewing it.
When is the right time to write your cover letter?
Usually, you should have a cover letter accompanying each CV you send to an employer. Employers then use cover letters as an easier way to screen applicants for their available positions and determine which candidates will progress to the interviewing process. If you’re unsure of whether an application requires a cover letter, this should be stated in the job description/posting. However, even if the employer doesn’t mention a cover letter, it could work in your favour to send one anyway. This will seem as though you’ve put a lot more effort into the application process than others.
Top tip: If you create your cover letter with the intention of it standing out from the crowd, this could secure an interview. So, keep this in mind when drafting your letter.
You may be wondering, what’s the best way to get your cover letter noticed in a pile of countless more? First, be sure to take the time to ensure you’re writing a good piece. Whether it’s required or not, a well-written cover letter will always give you ample opportunity to sell your credentials to the company and explain why you’d be good for the job. 83% of HR professionals stated that cover letters are important for their hiring decision.
What are the different types of cover letters?
If you’re about to write your cover letter, you should make sure you’ve chosen the right type of letter. Depending on whether you’re writing it to send separately or uploading it with your CV, enquiring about job openings or mentioning a referral, the style of the letter will be different.
Generally, there are 3 types of cover letters. You should ensure you choose the type of letter that matches your reason for writing.
If you’re applying for a job that has been posted by a company that’s hiring, you need to be using the application letter style.
Customising your cover letter
One of the most important things to remember is that each cover letter you send with a job application must be tailored specifically for the position you’re applying for. This means you’re changing a lot more than just the name of the company on the letter, you should be changing the body of the letter too.
A fully customised cover letter should include the following:
One of the most vital parts of a cover letter is making sure it stands out and shows the company that you’re the perfect candidate for the role. If you manage to make your cover letter stand out, you instantly make it easier for the hiring manager to decide whether you’re a good candidate to interview.
Match your cover letter to your CV - Choose the same font for your CV and your cover letter so that your application looks professional and polished. Definitely do not mix and match fonts, be consistent with the font you choose in both your CV and cover letter.
Match your skills with the job description - An important way to get your cover letter noticed is by making a clear match between the job requirements listed in the job advertisement and your skills and qualifications. This way you’re making it easy for the employer to see if you’re right for the role.
Highlight your relevant skills - It’s important to remember not to use your cover letter as a repeat of your CV. Instead, use this as an opportunity to focus on your skills and attributes that specifically benefit the employer. Be sure to focus on your top few skills that clearly show you best qualify for the job.
If you take all these tips you should surely have an excellent covering letter. Thinking of looking for a new job? Check out all our latest roles to the right.