Cover letters can make or break applicants. They are extremely important in the job application process because most of the time companies only rely on the CV and cover letter to get a glimpse of an applicant. It is integral to write the best cover letter to maximize your opportunity of getting a job.
The most important thing to remember when writing a cover letter is that you are marketing yourself. You need to “sell” yourself in such a way that the company believes that you will add value to their team.
In your cover letter you need to stand out, your personality needs to come through so that you can show companies a piece of yourself.
You should see your cover letter as an advert for yourself. Your CV is the fine print of what you can do and contribute to the business and the cover letter is the TV commercial where you present yourself in a quirky and interesting way. It will show the company what you are all about. A cover letter is not a CV and should not be treated the same way. So avoid listing things that can already be found on your CV.
Tailor your cover letter so that it suits the job that you are applying for. This is important because companies do not want to see a generic template, they want to read something interesting, something about yourself and they want to get to know you a little bit better. They want to see what sets you apart from the rest of the applicants. They also want to see how you will relate your skills to the operations of the company, more importantly – they want to see how you will fit in.
The most important thing in a cover letter is that you don’t ramble. Save the story telling for another day and rather focus on the juicy bits that companies can sink their teeth into. Avoiding the rambling will also help you to keep your cover letter short, this is integral because most companies do not have the time to read a novel while they have hundreds of applications waiting for them. Limit your cover letter to half a page, unless the application requirements states otherwise.
Another important thing to remember is that your grammar and spelling needs to be on point. Companies will not take you seriously if you cannot spell their name properly or use the correct punctuation.
Also keep in mind that your cover letter should not be addressed to anybody. This is a good tip because most of the time companies or adverts do not specify who to address.
Think of a way that will catch the eye of the reader, make the employer think/remember you above all the other applications. You need to make yourself memorable. The most important thing is that cover letters need to keep the reader grasping for more. It needs to be written in such a way that the employer wants to learn more about you.
Some practical advice that most people do not know about is that it’s better to send a cover letter and CV as a PDF file. The reason being is that not all organisations can access word documents etc. If you do save it as a Word Document, make sure it is saved in Microsoft Word 2003, not all companies have upgraded to Word 2010.
Just like every other famous speech, your cover letter needs to have a powerful ending. In your last paragraph you need to tell the company why you are the perfect person for the job. Think of the above mentioned as the build up to a climax. Think of your cover letter as a speech that you are giving to thousands of people; you need an ending of such power and conviction that it will convince the audience to believe what you want them to believe.