Top Tips for Writing Your Cover Letter
Are you working on a cover letter to send with your CV? Your cover letter is your introduction to a company, and also an opportunity to make a great first impression on a prospective employer. It’s vital that you get your cover letter right, because it's what can help you land a job interview.
Here are some easy-to-follow tips for writing a cover letter that will help increase your chances of getting an interview.
1. Go beyond your CV
Make sure your cover letter isn’t just another version of your CV. Instead, your CV should provide specific details of what you will bring to the company.
For your cover letter, choose two to three skills you want to highlight, and then provide examples of the times you demonstrated those traits. Show how you have added value to previous companies you have worked for. These examples are what will make your cover letter different from your CV. You can mention other relevant skills that your CV might not include as well.
You can also mention in your cover letter why you would love the job and also show that you’ve done your research on the company, its mission and key leadership. Show them that you are the ideal candidate for the position.
2. Tailor your cover letter for every job
Don’t make the big mistake of using the same, generic cover letter for every job application – a hiring manager will quickly pick up on this. Ensure you take the time to customise your cover letter, so it makes a positive impression. Write a cover letter that reflects your interest in the specific position and company, while tying it to the elements of the job that match your unique skills and experience.
What are they asking for in the role that you’re especially good at? Those are the points to stress when writing a cover letter. Provide clear examples of times that you demonstrated each of those skills. You should also include keywords from the job description.
It can be time-consuming to write a custom cover letter for each job you apply for, but it's vital to take the time and effort. A tailored cover letter will help the hiring manager to see straight away, that you are a good match for the job.
3. Address the hiring manager personally
This is an easy one, but also a very important one – address the cover letter to the person hiring for the position! If it’s not on the job description, either do some googling or call the company’s main office and just ask for the name and title of the hiring manager. If you’re working with a recruiter, they will provide you with this information.
4. Be yourself and show your personality
Employers don’t want to just hire a list of skills and qualifications, they want to hire an actual person they can trust and enjoy working with. Elaborate on what makes you interested in this position, whether it’s the company culture or the work itself, or a bit of both. This gives employers a glimpse at what kind of employee you are, and they want to know this information.
While you want to come across as polite and professional, avoid using unnatural language like “I wish to express my sincere interest in a position at your exquisite institution.” Instead, use clear, straightforward language.
5. Short and sweet
The general rule for cover letters is to keep it to no more than one page. Hiring managers are often inundated with applications, so short and sweet is more appealing to them.
Last, but not least, is to proofread your work. Hiring managers look at so many applications that a small typo can make or break your chance of getting an interview. Therefore, be sure to thoroughly proofread your cover letter – looking for any spelling or grammar errors. Ensure you have the correct company name, hiring manager’s name, date etc.
Consider asking a family member or friend to read over your cover letter too. Ask them to check for errors, but you can also ask for more general feedback. Ask whether or not your friend is convinced that you are a great fit for the job after reading it.
If you need any additional career advice or if you’re looking for your next career move, please feel free to contact Mason Alexander – we’re always here and happy to help with your job search!
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