There are a lot of unanswered questions surrounding cover letters: “Do employers still read them?”, “Are they considered old fashioned now?”, “Am I wasting my time?”, “Should I just send in my CV and call it a day?”
Whilst it is true that the cover letter is gradually becoming less important – there are still many employers who ask their applicants to provide one.
On a case-by-case basis you cannot determine if your cover letter will be read, but the fact is that a high volume of them are read daily. Therefore, learning how to write one is still highly recommended!
Having a strong cover letter will give you an advantage in ways that solely having a CV doesn’t -it also acts as an excellent prelude to the CV and adds more depth to the person behind the application.
A good cover letter gives you an opportunity to:
- Provide thorough details that you couldn’t fit into your CV
- Show off your writing skills
- Show you’re willing to put the effort in and write a personalised letter
- Demonstrate how you will fit in and adhere to the company culture
Here are some tips to ensure you stay ahead of the competition:
Keep it clear and concise –No one wants to hear you waffling on for two whole pages about how you helped to build a school in Peru – I’m not saying it’s not worth a mention, but you want to ensure the reader doesn’t get bored.
Keep on topic –Whilst you are writing the letter it is important to always bear in mind that you are writing this with the sole purpose of convincing an employer that you are the best person for the job – so every word you put down should highlight your skills and you must use examples to demonstrate why you are the best fit for the role.
Personalise each cover letter –It is usually very obvious to an employer when they are reading a generic “one-size-fits-all” letter, that that has been sent to multiple organisations. It looks lazy and will be detrimental to your chances of getting an interview. Put the companies name in the letter and make it as personal to their specifications as you can – this will show that you have taken the time to research their company.
Grammar is paramount – Grammatical errors could (and should) result in your application being deleted and swiftly forgotten about. They are unacceptable and easily avoided. Use spell-check, print it off and read it both forwards and backwards and finally give it to someone else to read who doesn’t know it inside out.
To conclude, cover letters that make a strong first impression are well constructed, easy to read, to the point, personalised and free from both spelling and grammatical errors.
If you found this useful, here is a dos and don’ts guide to CV writing – “CV writing in a nutshell.” – www.linkedin.com/pulse/cv-writing-nutshell-kayman-recruitment?trk=prof-post
As always, we are keen to hear your comments and urge you to contact us if you require further advice.
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