Whether you enjoy writing or not, a cover letter can often seem like the worst part of job hunting. You’ve filled out the application, you’ve polished your CV but you still have to write a letter introducing yourself. If writing isn’t your strong subject it can be even harder. Don’t fear though, here are some top tips for writing a cover letter that will make employers sit up and notice you.
Make them personal
The most important point, and this applies to CVs too, is to write a new cover letter for each job you apply for. Unless every job you are applying for has the exact same job description, chances are they are looking for different skills and types of people. Tailor it specifically for each role and company.
I can’t stress enough how important this is. Some employers base their judgment on the cover letter alone and if there’s a mistake in there, you will probably find yourself on the ‘no’ pile. We’re all human though and mistakes are easily done. Read through your letter carefully and get someone else to check through too.
Use your cover letter as an opportunity to tell the employer that you are what they’re looking for. Use examples to back up your claims and highlight the most important skills you have that are relevant. If you don’t have exact experience in the role, use examples from other jobs, volunteering or education to prove you can handle what’s expected of you. Research the company and suggest what it is that’s drawn you to want to work for them. This will demonstrate how passionate you are. Here are some of the skills you need for a career in digital marketing.
Keep it simple
Cover letters shouldn’t be too long. They should hint at what’s to come in your CV or application and make the reader interested in finding out more about you. Refer to your CV to make the reader want to move onto it. Don’t repeat information word for word that will be on your CV and try not to waffle. Anything longer than 300 words is too much; you should be able to say everything you want to with this amount of words.
Use the layout to your advantage
Bullet points draw attention and can break up any lengthy paragraphs. Structure it as you would any other formal letter and try to find out the contact name of the recruiter. This shows initiative and commitment. Finish with a statement thanking them for their consideration and stating how you look forward to hearing from them. Though it may seem old fashioned now, ending with a handwritten signature will look like you’ve taken this application seriously.