Your CV is up-to-date and ready to be used for your job applications, but what about a Cover Letter? In today’s job market submitting a CV/ job application without a Cover Letter won’t suffice, recruiters want to see job seekers going that extra mile to stand out from the crowd.
A Cover Letter is a document that accompanies your CV/ job application, it allows you to introduce yourself to the employer and explain why you think you are the most suited candidate to the role. Cover Letters should be short, concise, and speak to the employer directly.
Step 1: Do your research!
Before writing your Cover Letter, take time to do some research on the company, and learn more about their products and services. Look to see if they have been in the news recently, or if people are talking about them on social media. The more you can demonstrate you know your stuff, the better.
Step 2: Address your letter to the right person
A Cover Letter is your chance to speak directly to the recruiter/ employer so making sure you have the correct name and preferred title is essential. If the job posting doesn’t list a name, try searching the company website for the head of the department, or use LinkedIn to try and identify the name of the person who will be receiving your Cover Letter. If you are still unable to find a name, as best practice start your letter with ‘Dear Sir or Madam.’
Step 3: Your opening paragraph
Your opening paragraph is your chance to introduce yourself to the recruiter and explain how you found the advertised job. You can refer to the job title, or if you are not applying for a specific role, make it clear which kind of job you are looking for. This is your chance to show how keen you are to work for them, so make it count.
Step 4: Show why you’re the right candidate for the job
Your second paragraph is your chance to show why you’re the right person for the job. Refer to your previous experience and show how it matches the job specification. Talk about how your skills will benefit their business and show how you share their company values. Tip: When referring to your previous work experience as examples include evidence e.g. ‘’During my time as a Warehouse Operative I recommended a new system for the stock take process, my recommendation helped reduce errors by 40%’’
Step 5: Give extra information to support your application
This paragraph is where you can include any additional information that will support your application. If you recently underwent training, talk about how that will help you succeed in this role. If you have some gaps in your employment on your CV, explain a little more about this, were you volunteering, were you in education? Use this paragraph to add any information you think will help you get noticed by the employer.
Step 6: Wrap it up
Close your Cover Letter by thanking the employer for taking the time to consider your application. Tell them you are looking forward to hearing from them and indicate your preferred method of contact.
Step 7: Signed and sealed
When signing your Cover Letter remember to sign it off in the right way. If you have written to a named person sign off with ‘Yours sincerely’ if you started your letter with ‘Dear Sir or Madam’ sign it off with ‘Yours faithfully.’
If you’re sending your application electronically, attach your CV and Covering Letter to the application and either submit it via their website or email it to the relevant person. If you are sending a paper application, print your CV and Cover Letter and pop them in an envelope neatly with a clear address label on it.
Remember to change your Cover Letter when applying for multiple roles, what works for one employer won’t necessarily work for another. As best practice, you should write a new Cover Letter for each new vacancy you apply for. Whether it’s a job in retail or a job in the Construction industry, a Cover Letter demonstrates you have gone that extra mile to stand out from other candidates.