1. It must not repeat your CV – provide context and insight
Think of your cover letter as valuable retail space. Use it to exhibit new information that adds to your application.
2. Tailor it to the company – or don’t waste your and their time
A generic cover letter will likely do more harm than good. If you are pressed for time, just attach your CV with a short covering email.
3. Address it to a specific person – it makes the receiver feel more accountable
Refrain from writing ‘To whom it may concern’ or ‘Dear Sir/Madam.’ With the advent of LinkedIn, it’s easier than ever to establish who the hiring manager is. If you can’t be bothered to find out, it sends a very negative signal.
4. People will buy your ‘why’ not your ‘how’ – sell them your story
Why do you do what you do? What drives you? What keeps you motivated when the going gets tough?
5. Keep it to <1 page – employers are time poor
Employers are most likely just going to scan read your letter due to the volume that they typically receive. The less you write, the more they’ll read.
6. Tell employers what you want them to do – create a call to action
I would like to be considered for an interview and can be contacted on email@example.com or 555-1234.
7. Use the opportunity to showcase your linguistic ability – almost every job involves report writing
Employers will be looking for evidence that you are articulate and a ‘safe pair of hands.’ Use this opportunity to your full advantage. Also, check and double-check for typos!
8. Don’t be modest – get employers excited by what you can do for them
This is one of the very few times that you’re allowed to shout about what makes you special. Just make sure you link your value-add to the requirements of the role.
9. Do the hard work for employers – show why you’re well suited for the role and firm
A cultural fit is one of the most important criteria when recruiting. Hiring mistakes are costly and can negatively impact employee morale, particularly in smaller firms. Help employers answer the question, “why you?”
10. Sign it by hand or insert a digital signature – it gives it a human touch
Employers will notice and be impressed by the extra effort. Chivalry is still alive and well!
What are your top cover letter tips?
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