A cover letter is your opportunity to show your personality. Hiring Managers are busy people so this is your chance to sell yourself concisely while showing your knowledge of their business.
When sending out your CV to prospective employers, it is always a good idea to include a cover letter this gives you the opportunity to explain why you are interested in a particular role, what additional skills you bring and what attributes you may have that are specific to their business.
Cover letters should be personalised and created for each job that you apply for. They should sound professional without being ‘wordy’ or sounding clichéd. This is your opportunity to show you are confident, capable and friendly.
Points for setting out your cover letter:
- Keep it to one page long
- Make it clear and easy to read, don’t use backgrounds or pictures
- Use a basic font
- Address your letter to the employer by name. If this isn’t possible avoid the ‘To whom it may concern” or “Dear Sir / Madam” and write something like ‘To the HR Manager at (company name)’ instead.
What to include in your letter:
- Where you heard about the position
- What skills you have that they need – sell yourself; you are the best person for the job
- Display your industry / company knowledge
- The best way to contact you, and your availability for an interview
- If an employer asks a specific question that needs a reply in your cover letter, answer it. It shows you have followed direction.
- Double check your spelling, while you may not need to be an expert writer for a role, basic spelling is essential.
- Unless requested this isn’t the time to bring up salary expectations
- Be confident & respectful, but remember don’t be too overbearing or pushy.
- Don’t use abbreviations or emoticons
- Finally be relevant – While you can use your cover letter to point out any volunteer work, life experiences etc. that may not be in your CV, Don’t ramble or give a lot of information that has no significance to the role or company.