What is a cover letter and why is it so important to attach a unique one to each and every job you apply for?
There are many ways to get your CV noticed but the most effective method is to attach a cover letter. It lets the recruiter know a bit about yourself, why you are interested in the job and how you think you can benefit the company. A good cover letter also lets them know what your strengths are.
As you may know, many CVs only tell potential employers your personal details and what you have done in past education and employment. These facts alone will not always make your CV stand out from the other candidates applying for the job.
It is very important to attach a cover letter which is unique to each job you apply for as it shows a willingness to go the extra mile and fully complete important tasks, and they will take you more seriously than if you just send your CV. That could make employers think you are just blanket applying for jobs and would probably be happy with whatever you can get. In reality, most employers are looking for people with an interest in the company and who are looking for a career, not just a job. The more you can impress the employer, the more likely that you will get an interview.
Writing persuasive and effective cover letters is something that, again, the JobCentre Plus are not great at teaching. They simply don’t have the time to coach every jobseeker, but what follows will hopefully stand you in good stead when you need to compose one.
How To Write A Cover Letter – Things To Include:
First you must let them know why you are applying for the job. Try this template for example:
- I am applying for the role of [JOB TITLE] as I have a keen interest in [RELEVANT TOPIC] OR I am looking for a career in [SPECIFIC INDUSTRY]
- I think that I will be a benefit to your company because I have experience in [JOB SPECIFIC SKILL] OR I have a keen understanding of [JOB SPECIFIC SKILL]
- and desire to further my knowledge in [COMPLIMENTARY SKILL] OR [DETAILS MENTIONED IN JOB ADVERT].
Remember to put down any relevant past experience that you have had that would benefit the employer. This can be the main thing an employer is looking for.
Another way to get your CV noticed with a cover letter is to highlight your strong points that are in your CV, such as:
- I have a degree in [SUBJECT] OR I have had employment in [SPECIFIC INDUSTRY] OR I have worked in/studied [SUBJECT/INDUSTRY] for [NUMBER] years.
- I have done [OTHER RELEVANT QUALIFICATIONS/EXPERIENCE] (e.g. I have done a typing course and I can type X words per minute)
- I have worked for [WELL KNOWN COMPANY] for [NUMBER] years. Here I worked from a temp to a PA and I would bring the benefits of my experience to your company.
This will help a potential employer pick out your experience and knowledge that is relevant to the job you are applying for.
One of the worst things that you could write on a cover letter is ‘I have no experience in [INDUSTRY/SKILL] but I am willing to learn’ as it will make the recruiter think that there is someone else with better knowledge and experience out there compared to you.
So remember to only put relevant information on your cover letter and make sure that it is not too long as you don’t want the employer to lose interest. The more suitable you come across, the better your chances of getting a interview and hopefully the job, but make sure to keep a cover letter unique to the job at all times.
We have constructed a sample cover letter that you can download and alter to your needs. The file is in a .doc format which will require a text editor such as Microsoft Word to open it.
Next article: How To Write A CV