There are as many cover letters theories as there are recruiters. Many candidates send their resumes with a simple “see attached” assuming cover letters are never actually read. But rarely does a recruiter get a perfect match for what he’s looking for in terms of skills and experience in a CV. Writing a good cover letter is your best shot at getting noticed and it’s your chance to demonstrate your personality and experience in depth.
Your covering letter is your introduction and your first opportunity to sell yourself. Here are some key tips to ensure you make the best possible impression from the outset:
- Make sure your letter addresses the relevant contact name. If not mentioned in the job advert, try your luck on LinkedIn to avoid a neutral and impersonal “Dear madam, dear sir”.
- Keep it short – Assume employers and hiring managers give your letter 30 seconds of their time, aim for 3 paragraphs maximum and stay concise.
- Explain how hiring you will benefit the company: Try picking three requirements from the job description, and build your cover letter around these three essential points.
- Get introduced: It’s impossible to know someone at every company you’re applying to but do think of your network before sending your CV. You might know someone who knows someone there.
- Do your homework: company research is the best way to learn about company culture, its values, and what they look for in a candidate. After doing your research, state briefly why you’re interested in them as an employer.
- Highlight your transferable skills, achievements, versatility and what you can contribute.
- Ensure the letter flows freely. The reader should be left with an overall impression that you’re a potentially valuable addition to the workforce.
- Learn how to sell yourself: Describe examples that illustrate why your experience and skills exemplify what the company is looking for in a candidate. Do not imply you might not be the best fit for the position even if you see a dozen of good skills compensating your weaknesses.
- Don’t be boring but don’t be too presumptuous. And remember the cover letter is your best shot at being singular.
- Proof read to avoid spelling mistakes.