Once you have created an effective CV, having a well written, convincing cover letter will often improve your chances of being considered for a role. It might have been some time since you last created a cover letter, so here are some points to consider.
Before starting, always remember these 3 essential rules:
• All cover letters should adopt a simple, concise and formal style
• Tailor it every time and be specific
• Check, check and check again – be meticulous about spelling and grammar
Cover letters allow you to include more detail than in your CV, so they provide a great opportunity to establish your writing style and speak enthusiastically about the application and your experience. Here are some essential tips to help you write an effective and convincing cover letter.
Hard copy or email?
Hard copy letters should feature the address of the sender in the top right of the letter, and where you’re sending it to in the top left. Don’t forget to include the date underneath your address. When ending a hard copy letter, sign it and print your name underneath the signature.
If you’re sending an email cover letter, you don’t need to include your address at all. Attach your CV and write the letter in the body of the email. Always include a clear subject line that includes the job reference number and/or job title. Start your email with “Dear_______” unless you have any previous email correspondence with the company and they used a different greeting. End the email with your name, followed by your contact details (phone number and email address at the very least).
- You must tailor your cover letter to the role that you are applying for – using a standard letter which you mailshot out to everyone will be very easy for the reader to spot. You must match your experience to their needs -use the job description or advert to target your letter in the same way as you would for your CV.
- Don’t write in lengthy paragraphs as it will be difficult for the reader to pick relevant information out quickly. You are better off dividing the text into smaller paragraphs.
- Often cover letters sound bland and are identical to all the others. Writing something like ‘I am a creative, resourceful individual who is proactive and able to work as part of team’ sounds a bit prescriptive and dull and doesn’t really mean anything. You are better off giving a few examples of your achievements so the employer can see how you could add value to the company.
- Start your cover letter with a sentence confirming which role you’re applying for and from where you found out about it. If there is a personal or professional link between you and the employer then this is the time to highlight it.
- Next, mention why you’re interested in the role, especially with that company in particular. It gives you an opportunity to impress by showcasing your knowledge about the company and/or its industry. The more research you’re able to do, the better.
- The middle section should highlight your skills and achievements relevant to the role using a bullet pointed list of 3-4 key achievements with reference to the specific job requirements. This is your chance to convey your suitability and enthusiasm for the role.
- End with a final paragraph and state that you look forward to hearing from them soon.
Overall, it’s best to keep your cover letter short – no more than one page of A4 paper. Once you’re happy with your cover letter, get a friend or family member to check it through for you to identify any errors or grammatical mistakes. Cover letters should be tailored in exactly the same way that CVs should.
A concise, well-written cover letter will improve your job prospects and give you a great chance of securing an interview.
Renovo is one of the UK’s leading providers of outplacement and career transition support. We work with both organisations and individuals to support all their career transition requirements. If you would like to understand how Renovo can help you please call 0800 612 2011 or email firstname.lastname@example.org