Second to compiling a poignant and pertinent CV, the cover letter is a real opportunity to stand out from the crowd when applying for a job.
However, while this element of seeking employment is essential and often pivotal, there are pitfalls that could hamper your progression rather than promote.
Be mindful that writing a cover letter requires research, not only regarding the advertised position but about the company itself. Peruse their website, their LinkedIn profiles and other social media, so that you can familiarise yourself with their brand and their ethos and adapt your introduction to their requirements. Never use a generic cover letter which pays no heed to the specific company.
It is also worth pointing out that your introduction to your potential employers should be punchy to catch the imagination of the hirer, although be wary of sycophancy or inappropriate humour, which can signal bravado and a lack of authenticity.
Personability is of course a plus for any employer, but at this stage when you are trying to secure an interview, illustrating how you can help the company develop with your skill set is more significant than cracking a joke on your cover letter.
Emphasising your personal value with enthusiasm is key, after all if the hirer is convinced that you are applying for your dream job they will be more convinced about adding you to their workforce, than if you appear nonplussed by the prospect.
Cover letters are all about balance. Be enthusiastic, but don’t fawn, be informed but not arrogant and keep it short and punchy – a page will usually suffice – not just a sentence or two.
Remember that if you are in any doubt about your proficiency in this field, you can always use the eye of a trusted and appropriately qualified colleague to peruse your work. A fresh pair of eyes can often see your shortcomings when you have become jaded and myopic.
If you would like a template, please let me know.
Lynn Tulip is a Registered Career Development Professional with over 20 years of experience working with individuals, helping them prepare for their career transition and supporting them back into work. Her expertise includes 2021 job search strategies.
Copy by consummate communications professional, Suzanne J. Cairns