It’s not all about your CV you know. Sure, a well-written CV is a must if you’re applying for jobs but your cover letter can be the icing on the cake.
Your cover letter gives you the chance to breathe a bit of personality into your job application and most employers love that. Employers can see hundreds of job applications a day and if they are all the same it can get pretty boring, pretty quickly. By adding a personalised cover letter to your application you not only create an opportunity to talk about why you are the right candidate for the role in more detail, but you get the chance to make your application different to your competition.
So if you’re now thinking of frantically typing away and writing your cover letter check out some ways you can make it stand out from the crowd:
Keep It Short
Employers won’t want to read pages of text because they simply don’t have time. Your CV and cover letter will probably land in the laps of HR Managers, Managing Directors or Directors of companies who are all too busy to devote hours to reading job applications. They want to get straight to the good stuff – so make it easy for them. Keep your cover letter short and sweet and don’t ramble. Include all of your best content at the top of your cover letter, making it extra easy for an employer to pick out key content. If you’re struggling to keep the length of your cover letter down try using a cover letter template or ask a friend to scan through your cover letter for feedback. You might be surprised at how much waffle your friend cuts out of your cover letter writing!
If you’re applying for a Customer Service job then there’s not much point in mentioning your experience as a Postman. Keep your cover letter relevant to the job you are applying for. Read over the job description and pick out anything you can relate to; maybe you have worked in a similar role before, maybe you’ve had similar responsibilities or you could have trained to achieve some of the key skills the employer is looking for. Whatever makes your experience relevant to the job role, note it down. You can use this information to tell the employer why you are the right candidate for the job!
Layout and design is important on your CV so why wouldn’t it be important on your cover letter? Concentrating on the layout of your cover letter could help you to stand out from the crowd. Put yourself in the employer’s shoes: if you receive hundreds of cover letters that are all very lengthy and badly laid out and one that looks amazing (we mean yours by the way) then wouldn’t you be more likely to read it? We’re not saying you have to do anything too fancy but try using a template to help you design your cover letter and keep it simple.
Don’t just address your cover letter to ‘whom it may concern’, instead try to find out the name of the person accepting applications and use their name to personalise it. If you are sending out blanket job applications and multiple cover letters to different employers then the employer will probably spot this and it may make them feel that you haven’t spent much time in creating your application. To avoid this try doing a bit of research online or re-reading the job description information and this should help you to find a name of the person accepting applications. Address your application to them personally as it should help you to stand out from the other people applying for the job. To personalise it even more try researching the company and referencing their goals in your cover letter and explain how you share the same ones to show you are interested in progressing with the company.