Applying for a job can be stressful and often people spend a lot of time working on their CV and then just write a quick letter. But this is not enough as you may miss out on an interview, just because your cover letter didn’t sell you as it should have.
What is a cover letter?
It is an opportunity for you to introduce yourself to the company and the hiring manager. It’s an opportunity to give them some insight into who you are as a person. It also summarises the information in your CV and explains why you’d be a good fit for the job.
Is it important?
Yes, it is vital even if you have a great CV! It gives potential employers information about you that they wouldn’t get from looking at your CV alone. You must write a cover letter. You normally have about 30 seconds to impress the hiring manager and make it to the shortlist pile.
First thing’s first
Find out who you are writing to. Would you like a letter addressed to you as Dear Sir/Madam, or To Whom it may concern? It’s very impersonal. Do your homework. Check out the company on LinkedIn, or ring them and find out who the letter/email should be addressed to. First impressions count!
How long should the Cover Letter be?
It should be at least 3 to 5 paragraphs long but definitely not longer than a page.
In the first paragraph, advise which position you are applying for (this should also be in the Subject Line if applying by email) and state where you found the job. Also advise basic but relevant information about yourself, for example, your degree and field of expertise.
In the second and third paragraphs, respond directly to the job description showing why you’d be a good fit. Include exact words from the job description. Describe how your skills, previous work experience and positive qualities will allow you to meet the company’s needs. You can then expand how you would be a good fit for the company by showing you’ve researched the company.
Your final paragraph is a conclusion with a call to action stating you look forward to hearing from them, and that you are available for interview whenever it is convenient for you.
Is it acceptable to boast?
It is completely acceptable for you to boast in your Cover Letter and CV – this is your 30 seconds to sell yourself and get yourself that interview. But the evidence of your achievements is more important than how brilliant you think you are 🙂
In conclusion, above is the standard way of doing the Cover Letter. Of course, you could throw caution to the wind and write something completely different, or do a visual Cover Letter? Now, that we would like to see!