The first rule of applying for a job is that there is no one aspect of the application process that is more important than another. The covering letter is your opportunity to tell recruiters why you’re the right person for the job and yet and it needs to be every bit as good as your CV and personal statement.
The following 5 tips will help you get started:
1. Address the covering letter to the appropriate person
Normally there is a contact name to reply to. If there isn’t and instead you find a generic title like ‘HR Manager’ then find out who that person is and address it to them. The personal touch can make a difference.
2. Don’t regurgitate your CV!
A covering letter should provide a snapshot of who you are. Keep it brief and to the point.
3. Focus on these elements in the main body of the letter
- Make your opening sentence punchy – state why you are writing to them, the positions title, location and where you saw the job advertised.
- Show your knowledge of the company/organisation and why you are interested in them.
- Highlight your skills and competencies. Don’t resort to bragging – match your skills with the main job criteria and if possible one attention grabbing accomplishment that will hopefully set you apart from other applicants.
- Bullet points can be an effective way of making your accomplishments easy to read.
4. Communicate your enthusiasm
In the concluding section of the letter this is your chance to wrap things up by communicating your enthusiasm for the position. Request an interview and indicate that you’re available to do so at their convenience.
5. Close the letter with an action statement.
Finally finish in a dynamic way by letting the contact know what you intend to do next, for example, calling in a week or two to follow up.
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