Get It Covered - How To Write a Good Cover Letter
With dozens of applications to wade through, an employer is likely to spend a matter of seconds casting an eye over each cover letter - so make it count.
A cover letter (or email) is a sales pitch, enticing the employer to single you out as someone of interest even before they get to your CV.
Ensure your cover letter has maximum impact by stating, in simple terms, why you are the right person for that role.
So how do you write the ideal cover letter?
- First of all, do your research. Make sure you know exactly what the company does, what its objectives are, what it stands for and what the relevant role requires. Keep the job advertisement beside you as you write the cover letter and refer to it frequently.
- Put your name and address in the top right hand corner, the employer's name and address on the left with the date below. Try to find out who exactly in the company will be dealing with your application and address it to them. If you are totally in the dark as to the name of the recipient, address it Dear Sir/Madam.
- In the opening paragraph, outline the position you are applying for, where you saw it advertised and why you are applying for it. Examples of good opening paragraphs include: "I am writing to apply for the position of Photographic Assistant as advertised in the November 1 listing of Car magazine."
- In the second paragraph, convince the employer why he/she should hire you. Describe your professional and academic qualifications and experience that are relevant to the job. If the advertisement lists required skills, then include all of them.
- The next paragraph should be used to tell the company what you can do for it and what you can bring to the job. Expand on the most relevant points in your CV but keep it short.
- Close your letter off by stating that you'll be available for interview at the company's convenience and sign your letter off with 'Yours sincerely'. Make sure you've included all your contact details.
Important things to note.
Always type your covering letter. Use simple, white stationery.
Try to avoid using clichés such as "I have good interpersonal skills" and "I'm a good team player". It just sounds lazy.
Avoid over use of the word "I". Again, it shows a lack of imagination.
Do not exceed four paragraphs of content. The CV is there to provide further information.
To satisfy the reader, use industry buzzwords and subtle flattery.
Check, then recheck for spelling and grammatical mistakes.
Ensure your cover letter and CV are sent out together. One should never be sent without the other.