Cover Letters – Dos & Dont’s – Part 1
James, November 23, 2012
Six musts for a great covering letter:Here is our guide to creating a cover letter that will give your application the best possible chance to stand out from the crowd. With so many people applying for every available job, a great covering letter can be the one thing that makes the difference between an interview or a rejection letter. Sounds simple, but with the sheer number of applicants for each role how do you make your application stand out and grab the employer’s attention? Here are a six key points to consider when drafting your perfect covering letter.
1. Make it individualWrite each covering letter yourself from scratch. A well-written, individual letter shows that you are literate and have good communication skills. Furthermore it shows attention to detail - qualities that employers will be looking for.
2. Make it personal
Find out the name of the person who your letter should be sent to and then address it to them rather than sending it to ’The HR Department’ and opening the letter with ’Dear Sir/Madam’. It should only take a quick phone call to find out who the relevant person is and a personalised letter has more chance of standing out from the crowd.
3. Be clear and to the pointA good covering letter should be no longer than one side of A4. Remember that the employer will have numerous letters to read in a limited time . Yours should be clear and concise. It should catch the eye in the brief time that HR spend reading it. An ideal covering letter should introduce yourself using a personal statement setting out your strengths and experience. Then, in no more than a couple of paragraphs, explain why your particular skills and experience match what they are looking for in an employee. You don’t need to go over your entire CV in the letter, simply take some of the key points from the job description and set out the relevant experience you have . Close the letter with a short summary of why you would be ideal for the job.
4. Reflect company styleDo some research into the company before you write your letter. If their style is very formal, then you should reflect this in your covering letter. Likewise, if they have a more ’relaxed’ approach, then you can be less formal in your letter - but not too informal. As a general guide, look at the way their advert is written and try and use a similar tone and style in your letter.
5. Think about your presentation
Use good stationery. While you don’t need to go to the expense of buying the expensive or even personalised paper, it is worth using a medium-weight business paper and envelopes for your application. Attention to detail is once again key.