If you’re struggling to get yourself through the selection process and into an interview then perhaps it’s your Cover Letter that’s letting you down. Use these tips to create a Cover Letter that the reader won’t want to reject.
1. Do your research.
The very first step is to understand the company that you are applying to work for, particularly their challenges and accomplishments so that you can make reference to this in your cover letter or during the interview. Most people will simply review the company website, but also try to review any social media accounts, or do a few searches online to see if there are news articles or press releases.
2. Review the Job Description
Take time to read and re-read the job description and ensure that you tailor your CV to include the necessary requirements. Read the job description again and make a note of the 3 key attributes that you think the recruiter is looking for. Your Cover Letter will need to highlight how you personally can fulfil this need for the company.
3. Personal addressee
Find out who will be reading the applications. This may be identified on the job advertisement, but often you are asked to submit to a generic email address. In this case, do a little detective work using social media or a telephone call to find out the name of the individual who will be reading the applications and address your letter or email to that person (ensuring their name is spelled correctly).
4. Be clear and concise
Your introductory paragraph should identify the vacancy you are applying for, and why this is of interest to you. If a company employee has suggested the position, just mentioning this fact may ensure your CV stands out from the crowd.
5. Avoid clichés and jargon
Clichés have come about because people have reused useful phrases, and although they may literally get the message across and be accurate, these tend to be ignored by people skim reading text. When it comes to jargon, remember that the recruiter may be a HR manager, and not a specialist in an industry. Try to find clear ways of emphasising your good points using plain language and avoiding clichés, jargon or inappropriate words.
You are unique and no one else has the same experiences as you. Now is your chance to clearly explain how the skills you have gained, your work style or your personality attributes relate to the post and company you are applying for.
Once you have got it all down on paper, read it back to yourself and ask whether you would hire an individual for that vacancy based on the information you have put down. Once you are happy, ask a friend or colleague to review. Remember you are asking that friend or colleague for their opinion, so listen to their comments, don’t be offended if they suggest some changes, but remember you don’t have to agree and amend your letter.
8. Finish strong.
You final paragraph should finish on a positive note, suggesting how you could fit into their organisation. Indicating that you will contact them within 2 weeks to ensure your application has been received, or to see if they’d like to set up an interview would also be appropriate.
9. Don’t make it lengthy.
The rule of thumb is that a Cover Letter should be no more than a single page. Since most applications are by email now an appropriate way to translate this is that 3-4 paragraphs should be sufficient to get all of the necessary information across, whilst being short enough for the reader not to lose interest. If your letter is longer than this, then you need to cut it down.
10. Don’t send it immediately.
Once you’re happy with your letter, and you have asked a friend or colleague to review, don’t be tempted to send it off straight away. If there is time before the closing date, try to sleep on it, and review it again in the morning to check you have made your case, and there are no spelling or grammatical errors.
Now you have this information, use these 10 great tips to achieve more interview success than your less-knowledgeable counterparts. Happy job hunting!
Photo by: Rora Elizabeth
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