Writing the Perfect Cover Letter for Your Job ApplicationPosted on January 15, 2016
As the 'protective jacket' of your CV, a cover letter will nearly always be the first impression a potential employer has of you when you apply for work. A well-written cover letter acts as more than just a notification of your intention to apply for the position; it helps to ensure that you stand out from the crowd and persuades the person reading it to consider you for the next round of the application process.
You should therefore put as much thought and consideration into the content of your cover letter, as your CV. Avoid the temptation to copy and paste the same cover letter to a dozen employers; it's a mistake dozens of people will make. Instead, here are our top tips to ensure that your letter stands out from the crowd and gives you the best possible chance of achieving an interview.
Keep It Short and Sweet
We would recommend that you present your letter as a typed document and keep its length to no more than a single side of A4. Whilst handwritten letters will add a personal touch to your application, there is nothing more frustrating for an employer than having to decipher poor or elaborate handwriting.
Do Your Research
Whenever you prepare an application to a potential employer, you should take the time to do some research about the company you are applying to join. Look into the history of the company, who their competitors are and the products or services they offer. Doing so will allow you to tailor your cover letter for each role and demonstrates to the employer that you have put thought and time into your application.
Get the Structure Right
Your cover letter should not be a repeat of the content in your CV; instead it should be a brief introduction to you and your personality. Your content for this can be broken down into four key paragraphs:
- Open your letter by explaining why you are contacting the company. In this paragraph you may want to make reference to how you became aware of the position or of the person who referred you.
- Why do you want to work for the company and why this particular role. It is at this point that it pays to demonstrate you have done your research about the company and have not just sent out a copy and pasted letter.
- Time to get to the point - why are you the right man for the job? Briefly explain any qualifications or previous experience which you feel makes you the ideal candidate. To reinforce your suitability, make reference to any relevant skills mentioned in the job description.
- Reiterate your desire to work for the company and let them know that you would be happy to meet with the employer for an interview.
You can find more of our CV writing tips by visiting the Candidate Resources section of our website. There we have a wide selection of blogs, with tips and advice on all aspects of your job application.