When applying for jobs the cover letter is often overshadowed by your resume, however in most cases it is just as important, if not more and could be make or break your chances of being considered for a job.
Your cover letter is your chance to really sell yourself as an employee and to elaborate on your skills and experience in a way that makes them so much more relevant to the role you are applying for than on your resume. You can also inject a bit of personality into your cover letter and give a bit of an insight into the type of individual you are, setting yourself out from competition.
If you’re feeling a bit stumped however, Aimee Bateman of Career Cake has come up with 5 really helpful steps to writing an incredible cover letter to help you on your way.
1. Make it personal
Try to avoid addressing letters to Sir/Madam/To Whom it May Concern, as it is incredibly impersonal and gives the impression that you are sending the letters out to anyone and everyone. Take the time to do your research and find out the hiring manager’s name. It shouldn’t be too difficult to find this information, as a lot of companies will have staff details on their website or you can usually find out with a quick Google search or through LinkedIn.
If all fails, you can always give the office a call and someone there may be able to help you.
2. Tell them why you want to work there
Start off by being specific about what role you are applying for as quite often, particularly in large companies, there will be multiple vacancies at one time and they may be receiving a high volume of applications.
You should then let them know why you chose to apply for a job with them and show that you are genuinely interested in the company. You don’t want them to think that they are just one of dozens of businesses you have sent a letter out to, so make them feel like they are the only one you want to work for. Avoid buzzwords as they’ve probably heard them all before, and rather find something significant and personal to their company that you admire. You should be able to find out information about past projects they have completed and their company values on their website and by following their activity on social media.
3. Tell them why they should hire you
Now it’s your turn to big yourself up. You need to convince them that you are the one for the job.
Identify a list of attributes that you want to promote about yourself and how you want employers to perceive you. You can then compare this with the skills and experience asked for in the job description and elaborate on the relevant qualities you possess. Tell them what you can do for them and how you can add value to the business with use of specific examples.
4. Show passion
You need to be enthusiastic and show them that you really want the opportunity. Your choice of language can help to do so, for example “I would love the opportunity to discuss this further.” Be passionate about your career and demonstrate your ambition to progress at the company.
5. Be friendly and polite
People want to work with individuals who are friendly and easy to get along with, so try to show this side of you in your cover letter. It’s hard to really get across your personality on paper, but being polite and showing a bit of consideration for the hiring manager/recruiter can go a long way. You can do this by thanking them for their time considering your application or by wishing them luck filling the role, as this will demonstrate that you respect how others feel and are willing to help.