So we’ve talked about How to write the perfect CV but it’s important not to forget the cover letter. There is some debate as to how much value a cover letter actually adds to your application, but if you do it right it can give the reader of your CV that extra insight into you and help move your CV to the top of the pile.
Here are our top tips to write a cover letter to impress:
- Nail your spelling and grammar – this is a basic but is absolutely imperative! The way you write your cover letter shows attention to detail and your communication style – if you make a small mistake in your letter, it immediately detracts from your CV.
- Say something about yourself that isn’t in your CV – the purpose of the cover letter is to add to your CV, not repeat it. So, this is a good opportunity to bring your CV to life a bit – why are you interested in the role, why is your skillset is a good match and anything that might need explaining e.g. if you are currently located in a different location to where the position is based, if you are currently doing something different to the role but feel you have transferable skills etc.
- Formatting – as with your CV, make sure the formatting of your cover letter looks good and is easy to read!
- Tailor your cover letter to the job you are applying for – a good cover letter can make the difference between getting an interview and not. You should aim to highlight why you are specifically interested in that role (it’s like a form of flattery for the hiring manager!) and also what attracts you to the company. Try to reference something specific that isn’t the obvious e.g. try to avoid saying something like “I’m interested in x company as it’s a large global company” as there are a lot of those! Instead, reference something (positive) you have read about the company in the news, awards they have won, someone you know at the company etc to make your cover letter show that you are genuinely engaged and interested in that specific company,
- Don’t be cheesy or try to be funny! While it may be tempting to try to stand out from the crowd by including quotes, or trying to be amusing, resist the urge!! Remember that this is a professional document and with written communication it can be hard to gage tone.
- Don’t waffle! A cover letter should be one page max – it’s not designed to give your life history! Keep focused on what are the key points to get across and save the rest for interview!
- Get the basics right! When you are applying for multiple roles it’s easy to accidentally send the wrong letter to the wrong company! It’s going to be a guaranteed “no” to your application if you make a mistake like that so be careful and double check before you hit “send”!