So, what should you include in your cover letter to impress potential employers? What creates a good first impression, and what are the main risks that might derail your job application?
Sian Havard, Founder and Consultant at recruiting company Milkshake Group, has five tips for writing a successful cover letter.
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You’re putting yourself at a disadvantage if your application doesn’t include one.
You’re putting yourself at a disadvantage if you don’t have one in your application. In their application procedures, various employers and recruiters ask for different things, but a concise, relevant cover letter is typically requested. If you don’t include one, your application is likely to be rejected.
A well-written cover letter might assist you in making a positive first impression. Pay attention to what is asked in the job post while writing a cover letter. Follow the instructions if you’re requested to submit it as a Word document. Alternatively, depending on the scenario and job, an email cover letter may suffice. “A lot of applications are emailed straight to someone these days,” Havard explains. This implies that the content of your email will take the place of a typical cover letter, and you won’t need to attach one. “A solid start to your application procedure will be a well-written, short email with a reference to an attached resume.”
Keep it professional and to the point.
“Any email or attachment you send to a company you’d like to work for illustrates how you’d communicate with individuals within and outside the company if you worked there,” Havard adds.
She believes that a cover email should be four to five brief paragraphs long. “An attached letter may be a bit lengthier, but it should not exceed one page in length. The goal of a cover letter is to give the person reading it a taste of who you are, your potential fit for the job, and to entice them to go through your resume to learn more about you.”
It is better to be direct
Cover letters aren’t the place to develop tension and convey a broader tale. Right away, state your skills and experience, as well as why you’re the best candidate for the job. Consider incorporating your most relevant experience and your aim into the first line of your first paragraph. “I am certain that I could thrive in the job of Sales Executive,” for example, because of my experience closing contracts at top businesses.
“A cover letter is a wonderful chance to inform the individual reading it quickly which position you’re looking for and why you’re interested in it,” Havard says. “Then, in greater depth, your resume should explain why you’re a good fit for the job.”
Don’t just recite your resume over and again.
Instead of repeating your resume’s key elements, a cover letter should build on them. You want to provide an impression of who you are, your skills, and what you can provide. Focus on introducing yourself more following your introductory sentence. “Include details such as how you learned about the position, why you want to apply for it, and any relevant knowledge you have about the position and the company.”
Demonstrate that you’re familiar with the company’s culture. “Use your cover letter to show you know how to speak in their language if you’ve read about the company online and you can see they’re casual in their communication.”
You should always be mindful of who you’re interacting with.
If a job post specifies who the candidate will be working for, Havard recommends addressing your cover letter to that individual. You might conduct some research to determine who the hiring manager is; this demonstrates that you’ve taken the time to learn more about the company. If it’s still unclear, try sending it to the appropriate department or using the phrase “Dear Hiring Manager.” ‘Dear Sir or Madam’ or ‘To whom it may concern’ are customary greetings, although they may appear too formal in particular circumstances. If you’re applying to an informal workplace, Havard adds, ‘Hello team [company name]’ may suffice, but unless you’re certain, it’s better to be more professional.
If you send your application to an email address rather than a website, Havard believes it’s probable that it’ll be reviewed by a specific individual. “In this situation, a well-written, basic cover email noting that your resume is included as an expression of interest for the listed position is frequently enough to get them to view your resume.”
If you follow these guidelines, you’ll be well on your way to writing a cover letter that impresses employers and complements your resume by emphasising your skills and experience.
While you’re at it, update your Swotcase Profile – it’s a fantastic opportunity to present yourself to potential employers.