If you’re looking for a new job the chances are you will need to write a cover letter or email to accompany your CV. As it will be the first thing that the employer will see it’s vital that you get your cover letter right. In this short article we show you how to do this.
A cover letter or email should be a short introduction to your skillset, and should do its utmost to encourage an employer to consider you. It should be professional, yet grab the attention of the employer or recruiter who is likely to receive many applications for the same position.
How Long Should It Be?
As a general rule, a cover letter shouldn’t be longer than one side of A4 – but possibly less. For a correctly formatted letter including an address, you should have approximately 300 – 350 words to use.
Your opening statement should include why you’re writing it, which role you are applying for and how you heard about the job or where you saw it advertised.
Skills and Experience
Your second paragraph should be a strong personal statement which highlights your most impressive experience or skills. Use the job description as a guide as you write this – explain how these skills would make you an asset to the company.
Interest in the Industry
Show your enthusiasm for the company and what they do. Make sure you’ve done your research and can demonstrate a genuine interest in the industry. Perhaps the company has a new product that you’re particularly excited about? Show your interest for this – remember to express how you can help them achieve their goals.
Make sure that your closing statement is positive and confident. Use this to reiterate how interested you are in the role and how you look forward to discussing it further with them. Sign your letter off with the correct salutation (remember: Dear Sir/Madam = yours faithfully; Dear Mr/Mrs/Name = yours sincerely) and your full name and contact details.
Top 10 Tips For The Perfect Cover Letter
1. Double check the details – make sure you have addressed your letter to the right person with the right job title.
2. Quality over quantity – one side of A4 or less is the preferred amount.
3. Professional format – unless otherwise stated, employers and recruiters will expect a professionally formatted cover letter.
4. Don’t just copy your CV – you have limited space so don’t waste it by repeating yourself.
5. Give evidence – if you claim that you have a particular skill, demonstrate how you have successfully implemented it.
6. Write tailored cover letters – don’t send out the same cover letter for different jobs – tailor it.
7. What can you offer – highlight what you can offer the company, not what they can offer you.
8. Don’t mention salary expectations – unless you’re specifically asked to in the job description, don’t include your salary expectations in your cover letter.
9. Positive sign off – end on a confident note and indicate that you would like to discuss the role with them further.
10. Proofread – double-check everything and then get someone else to proofread it for you.
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