How to Write the Perfect Cover Letter
How to Write the Perfect Cover Letter
A cover letter is your own personal introduction to a possible employer as to why you are well suited to the specified job role. Sent alongside your CV, it works as a complimentary tool and gives a possible employer an insight of your previous experience, key skills/attributes that you can bring to the role and also an understanding of who you are as a person.
Your cover letter content will be the integral factor of whether you acquire an interview or find yourself waiting for a call back.
What should a cover letter look like?
Your cover letter should be presented in a professional format as it’s a document that is supporting your CV. You should also ensure that your cover letter and CV are both in the same font – this will allow the potential employer to recognise a continuous flow between the two documents; it may seem like a small factor to you but for an employer, it lets them know that you pride yourself in attention to detail.
You should aim for a page maximum with four to five ‘easy read’ paragraphs. An employer doesn’t want to be faced with multiple pages of you talking about how great you are and every accomplishment you have achieved since an infant. Instead, keep it short and sweet with precise details on relevant experience and accomplishments. Your cover letter structure could look a little something like this:
Cover letter opening lines should include an introduction of yourself. Include a bit of background about who you are, what role you’re applying for and your objective if you’re fortunate enough to secure the position. Some good opening lines to start your cover letter include:
You should be direct: You should state the job role that you’re applying for as managers could be hiring for more than one job position at one given time so clearly state your intentions at the start of your cover letter.
Name drop: If you’ve been referred by someone to apply for the position be sure to mention them within the first paragraph of your cover letter. A referral could be the make or break factor of securing an interview.
Be keen: Express your passion and excitement for the job that you’re applying for. This is your only chance to sell yourself to the employer so make sure it counts!
In your second paragraph you should touch base on why you want to work for that specific company – what makes them different to similar companies within the same sector? Also include your passions for the specified industry and what you aim to bring to the company should you be successful.
In your third paragraph give a brief overview of the skills and relevant experience that you think will make you stand out against other applicants. As mentioned, keep it brief as the employer will be able to see your experience on your CV and reading over the same thing twice will look lazy on your behalf even though it’s unintentional.
Finally, how to sign off your cover letter. The closing paragraph is rounding all the prior information up and throwing in any other details, attributes or qualities which you believe will make you stand out from other applicants. Finally, make sure to thank the employer for taking the time to read your cover letter and it’s worth giving it a mention that you’re looking forward to a possible response.
How important is a cover letter?
Cover letters can be the make or break factor as to whether you acquire the job. A cover letter gives the employer an insight of why you are the best possible candidate for the position so it’s essential that you get it right. You need to make it clear why you’re the best fit for the job role without the employer even having to refer to your CV – this is your chance to broadcast all of your strengths and sell yourself in the best possible light.
You should also try to think outside of the box to make yourself stand out, by no means are we suggesting that you write your cover letter in an outrageous colour, but you need to think about how many other people will be applying for the position as well as yourself, so rack your brain for any achievements you have accomplished which many people may not have.
It’s also worth stating that most employers will disregard a CV without an accompanied cover letter so make sure you put some effort to it and go the extra mile. An employer will recognise whether you’ve taken the time and effort into creating an original personalised cover letter as opposed to something that is copied, pasted and sent out multiple times with no originality to it. If you’re stuck for ideas, take a look at a good cover letter example to get some inspiration but by no means copy it – remember originality is key.
What should not be included?
Obviously, a ‘model cover letter’ can only be determined by the employer themselves but there are some things you should avoid completely when creating your cover letter.
Typos are a massive turn-off for an employer so make sure you spellcheck your cover letter multiple times. A typo could make or break whether you are called back for an interview, so it’s crucial that you avoid these. Even ask your family or friends to proof read it to make sure you haven’t missed any.
Make sure you’ve constructed and worded everything as well as you possibly can. Sometimes things make sense in your own head but can come across as confusing to others. Again, ask a family member or friend to proof read it to ensure clarity.
Don’t copy and paste your CV onto your cover letter, try to reword key details rather than just repeating it.
Try not to refer to yourself too much, remember your cover letter is to show the employer why you would benefit them and their company.
This one is probably a given, but don’t mention that you’ve been searching for jobs elsewhere – you need to convince the employer that you’re solely passionate about their possible job opportunity.
This article has covered all aspects of what entails the perfect cover letter. But remember, this is only stage one – next, onto the interview.
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