Writing a cover letter takes a careful approach.
A good CV never travels alone and a cover letter is an essential part of any job application. But what is a cover letter and what should you put in it?
A good cover letter goes a long way to ensuring you get to the interview stage. Make sure you put the same time and effort into a cover letter as you do into creating a CV.
What is a cover letter for?
A cover letter should make it clear which job the CV is for and include the job title and any reference that has been given for it. Basically, a cover letter should help your potential employer to direct your application appropriately. When your CV is sent in electronically, the professional courtesy of sending it with a cover letter is standard practise.
What to write in a cover letter?
There are a few things which your cover letter has to include. For advice on writing a cover letter, see our how to write a cover letter article. Ideally, your cover letter will not take long to read as it should be extremely well laid-out.
Typed letters are preferable to hand written ones for most jobs. If you have a clear and concise message which helps to direct your CV to where it should be, then your letter will have done its job.
Cover letter pitfalls
Make sure your cover letter doesn't detract from the quality of your CV. A cover letter with bad spelling will mean that your CV never even gets looked at. If you are unsure, then get someone to proofread your letter before you sign it and send it off. Take as much care as you would with your CV.
Your cover letter must be relevant to the job you are applying for. Avoid re-using one from another job application. Remove any reference numbers for old jobs from any templates you may have kept. Ensure that any job title you mention is 100 per cent accurate.
Keep it short
If you think your covering letter is too long, then it is. Cut it down. The information given should be to-the-point yet as clear possible, whilst maintaining a friendly, professional tone.
Email cover letters
For positions which require an emailed application, the email itself can act as the cover letter. A CV can be sent as the attachment to the email. Ideally, a covering email will make a brief introduction and mention your CV has been attached.
Finish the letter on a positive note. Statements such as “I look forward to hearing from you” show your motivation and that you are keen to get a response.
Now you know how important it is, make sure you consider these tips on writing winning cover letters . These can really help you to succeed where others fail.
While we all know that a resume is important to the jobsearch process, it is not necessarily the most important document you will need to secure an interview.
Many people believe that a strategically targeted cover letter is the most important weapon you need to fight this battle and to win it. There are two key reasons why.
- The cover letter allows you to target the job and the employer in a very specific way, leaving the resume to market your skills, qualities and experience as a part of the bigger picture. Your resume then needs less tweaking with each application because the letter, which must be different each time, does that for you.
- A great cover letter should not just repeat your resume in a shorter form, but should tell the employer what it is about the job that is attractive to you and why you want to work for that employer. You will also need to include the unique skills and the qualities you bring to that job and the company.
Writing a killer cover letter is not a simple task. It requires thought, knowledge and understanding
Many employers and recruiters read the letter first. Some will not even consider your resume until they are satisfied by the content of your letter. So it is a very important document.
- You will need to do research on the employer and the job before writing the letter
- It will need to be written in an engaging style using keywords applicable to the job
- In the letter you will need to show that you have made the effort to learn about their company by acquiring relevant knowledge before going to the interview, if you are chosen.
So what do you do if the employer is not disclosed in the job advert? Well the letter still has to be written specifically to the job addressing the key requirements stated and your enthusiasm needs to shine through. No letter can just say "here is my resume", not if you want an interview. You will need to convey:
- I have reviewed your website and understand your business
- You are my employer of choice
- I believe my personality fits with your organisational culture (providing it does)
- I really want to work for an organisation with your values
These all help to sell "your fit" with their organisation. At Successful Resumes we believe the cover letter needs as much attention and skill in the preparation as your resume.
If you need help with your cover letter please visit our website here likewise if you require a free assessment of your resume or advice on government selection criteria go to our website. One of our national team of highly qualified and experienced writers will be available to work with you to ensure you have the best chance of winning the interview to kick start or reignite your career.
By John Little Managing Director of Successful Resumes Australia - visit us at www.successfulresumes.com.au