1. Definitely send one
Even if the job advert doesn’t specifically request a cover letter, it is common courtesy to send one. It’s a polite way of introducing yourself and informing the employer which role you’re applying for and why you’re interested.
2. Focus your opening
Although your first paragraph should include which vacancy you’re applying for and how you discovered the job advert, try not to waffle on. You need to focus on what makes you different from the off, sell yourself and explain what attracted you to this job in particular.
3. Show your company knowledge
Research is always important when it comes to the application process, and it is essential when trying to impress in your cover letter. Give examples of which of their ideals you admire and why you’re attracted to the company. However, don’t make general statements: be specific about which products appeal to you or which area’s growth has impressed you in particular.
4. Demonstrate your qualities
You need to let the employer know how your skills and qualities match the requirements of the job advert. By illustrating how your experience has developed relevant skills to the position on offer, you can highlight your strengths. It’s best to focus on your top three qualities that make you a sure-bet, providing specific examples and details as much as possible.
5. Let your personality shine
Unlike your CV, your cover letter can reflect your personality. You need to show your enthusiasm and passion for the job role, company and industry. Remember, it’s always best to use verbs rather than nouns to explain your experiences as it gives the employer an idea of the specific actions you’ve taken, rather than just reading endless descriptions about how wonderful you are.
6. Short and sweet
Your cover letter should never be longer than one page of A4, therefore the information you include must be relatively brief. By making sure that each line/paragraph of your cover letter is relevant and to the point, you can ensure you don’t exceed this limit.
7. Tailor each letter
Although it’s fine to use a template for your cover letters, it’s crucial that you don’t use the exact same letter for each role you apply for. It’s very easy for an employer to spot when their company/job role has been pasted into a general cover letter. If you want to impress, get specific in order to prove your interest and show that you’ve done your homework. Look at the terminology used in the job description and imitate this in your letter.
8. Why you?
This is undoubtedly the question the employer will have in their mind when reading your letter, therefore you should make a conscious effort to answer this question wherever possible. As well as emphasising your strengths and experience, make sure you highlight how your skills match the current needs of the employer.
9. Perfect your presentation
Taking care of the small details can go a long way, therefore you should always spellcheck and get someone to proofread your cover letter before sending it. Make sure you’ve addressed it to the right person: if you’re not sure who this is then find out by ringing the company and asking for the appropriate contact. If the job role has a reference number be sure to include this.
10. Closing line
This should be a call to action as well as detailing what your next steps will be in terms of your follow up plan; whether you will call at a later date or wait for the employer to contact you. Let them know that you are looking forward to hearing back from them.