When applying for a job one of the most important aspects to focus on is the cover letter.
A good cover letter can package your CV and present your key skills and experience to an employer – boosting both your job interview and employment chances. There are a variety of cover letter templates that you can use depending on your employment situation. If you’re a graduate you might want to focus on your qualifications more, if you’re looking for a career change you’ll probably want to talk more about your transferrable skills. But on some occasions you might want to send a general cover letter – below are some tips on what to include on a general cover letter and some writing tips:
Address it to a Person
Your cover letter should be personalised to the person and the company you are applying to. If you send out a blanket cover letter to multiple employers they will spot it! And not only can this look like you haven’t spent much time in preparing the cover letter, it can make an employer feel like you’re not that interested in the job role. Personalising your cover letter by including simple things, like the Hiring Manager’s name, will show them that you have taken the time to do a bit of research and that you are genuinely interested in the job.
Do some research before you send out your cover letter – you should be able to find the name of the Hiring Manager or person looking at CV’s within the job advert. Taking the time to look for small details like this could make all the difference to your job application.
Give an Introduction
When writing your cover letter you need to introduce yourself and your experience as it’s probably the first few lines an employer will read about you. Employers obviously navigate to a CV but the cover letter is usually the first page they will read. Introduce yourself in the opening lines by stating your current position and experience and why you are applying for the role.
Support Your CV
Your cover letter isn’t just an introduction to your CV – it should support it too. When writing your cover letter you should pay close attention to the content of your CV and the job description you are applying to. Make a note of the key skills and experience the employer is looking for an emphasise these on your cover letter and reference your CV. For example: “As you can see from my CV I have experience working in a target driven team which has helped me to develop my sales and rapport building skills.”
Tell Them Why You Are Applying for the Job
Your cover letter should flatter the employer and tell them why you want to work for their company! Although employers want to find out all about you, reading a bit about themselves on your CV and cover letter can impress them. Telling an employer why you want to work for them not only shows that you have done your research on the organisation and the role, but it shows that you’re passionate about the industry. Re-read the job description and pinpoint the key reasons why you think this role would be exciting. Do the same when reading the company website – why do you want to work for the organisation?
Tell Them Why You Are Right for the Job
Your CV will list all of your key skills, qualifications and work experience and hopefully should demonstrate to an employer that you have the right experience to successfully fill the role. But just in case they miss something on your CV, you should use your cover letter to make your key attributes stand out. For example , if you are applying for a sales role you will probably have a large amount of sales experience and achievements on your CV. Use your cover letter to highlight these, and even elaborate on them slightly by including a few anecdotes like any recent sales you have made or your sales figures that you have achieved recently.
Remember, when writing your cover letter you should bear in mind the same process as when you are writing your CV. Keep it short and to the point, only include content that you think the employer will find relevant and ensure you tailor your cover letter to the employer and the industry for maximum impact.