The job search skills include a myriad of activities including perfecting your CV but don’t forget your cover letter is of equal importance.
Once your CV is ready you need to prepare your cover letter (or email) in such a way that your application will not be overlooked.
This cover letter is the one that you attach your CV to and the one that gets you noticed by the recruiter. Your reader needs to know instantly that you are:
- an interested candidate
- a skilled candidate
- an informed candidate
How long do you spend on your cover letter and how can you ensure that it not only includes your interest in the role on offer but also shows you have the aptitude to achieve and that you know about the company you are applying to?
If you don’t demonstrate these things in your cover letter then you are missing out on being taken as a serious candidate.
Our top tips for making your cover letter that bit more interesting are:
1. Your introduction is dull and boring
Recruiters are reading plenty of applications and if your opening line is different, perhaps asking a question and reflecting your knowledge about the company and the role then you have a better chance of the reader reading on. You need to understand why the job is being advertised and what exactly the role entails and what skills, knowledge and experience you have to solve the problems that this post may face. The more you can qualify your opening sentences with figures, achievements and relevance to the role the more likely the reader will read on too.
2. You failed to connect to the employer’s issues
Your cover letter needs to highlight your competencies however, other candidates will be doing the same so to ensure that you are different and shown in a good light, you need to relate directly to the company and their reasons for need a new key person. Do you know the company’s history? Have you read recent press releases and annual reports? What do industry analysts say about this company? Referring to pertinent issues and potential problems and how you can resolve them put you on a better footing.
3. You forgot to match your skills to the job
Your CV has of course been tailored for this application, and it the same way your cover letter needs to reassure the reader that you have the exact requirements that the employer is looking for. Bearing this in mind, write your cover letter with the job description to hand and that way you can point out where your skills and successes relate to.
4. Your letter was addressed impersonally
Never has it been easier to discover the names of hiring managers and there is no reason now for your cover letter to be addressed “Dear hiring manager” or even just “Dear Sir or Madam”
Use LinkedIn and other social media tools to identify exactly who to write to. It’s flattering and shows resourcefulness to the reader.
5. You forgot to be assertive.
Your closing sentences need to summarise your match for the role and show that you can take action. Being passive and ‘looking forward to hearing from you’ will not get you noticed. Be positive and name a date when you will call to discuss your application further.