Your CV will cover all of your skills and experience, so your covering letter shouldn’t just be a repetition. Many people shy away from cover letters but it is a way of standing out from the crowd and if the job advert requests one, then it is absolutely essential!
Use these 3 tips to get the right focus:
1. Contact and Greeting
Start with your contact details at the top of the letter together with the reference number and job title of the role, so the recruiting manager doesn’t have to go searching. Have a professional sounding personal email address and make your telephone number clearly visible. Address your letter directly to the recruiting manager if you can. If you don’t have a name then address it to ‘Dear Sir / Madam’.
2. The Content
After highlighting the role that you are applying for, break the rest of letter down into 3 sections.
Start with why you are suitable. Pick out the key requirements, skills and experience from the job advert and make sure you highlight how you meet the criteria. Include metrics and key data to emphasise certain points. Eg ‘10 years experience in … ‘.
Use bullet points to highlight the main areas that you wish to draw attention to. This will make it easy for a recruiter to read and will also allow you to clearly communicate all you need to.
What can you bring to the role?
As well as stating why you think you are right for the role, your next paragraph should include what you can bring to the organisation. Include what you are passionate about and how that links to the job requirements and the organisation you are applying to.
Reiterate why you want the role, for example ‘I am confident that my skills and previous experience will enable me to make a key contribution to the team and the organisation.’ Then thank them, for example ‘Thank you for considering my CV and I look forward to meeting you in the near future to discuss my application further.’
Close your letter with ‘Yours sincerely’ if you have directed your letter to someone specifically, or ‘Yours faithfully’ if you have addressed it to ‘Dear Sir / Madam’. Enter your full name underneath, allowing yourself space for your signature.
3. Keep it Brief
Whilst making sure you include all relevant points, brevity is also key! Recruiters will be looking through a mountain of CV’s and letters so get yours to stand out. Writing three pages is not the way. You should be able to get all the salient points down on to half a page of A4, so including your contact details and reference number, it should all fit on to one page. Keep it professional, well presented with an easy to read font and be concise.
Good luck and get applying!
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