How To Write A Successful Cover Letter
While most people know what makes a good CV, a cover letter seems to be more of a mystery. Knowing the correct tone and what best to include can be tricky. But a good cover letter can prove to be invaluable – particularly when applying for a job alongside other candidates with similar skills. Here are eight tips to make your cover letter go further.
Begin your cover letter talking about your career trajectory thus far, and how you came upon the position. Then continue with some basic info – where you are with your education and employment and other facts. This helps get the important information conveyed immediately and makes the cover letter easier to navigate.
While a CV follows a stricter structure and lacks need for embellishment, a cover letter should be more personal. Maintain a professional tone, but use what you can to stand out from the crowd.
Connect Yourself With The Job Opportunity
Make connections between your professional and personal experience and education with the job you’re applying for. If you’ve volunteered as a mentor at uni, mention it. Even if you feel like you don’t have any relevant experience, there will be something you’ve done which can be portrayed as useful to the job application.
Expand On CV – Don’t Just Repeat
This is an opportunity to provide more information than your CV does, not just repeat it. The very worst cover letter are just rewordings of a CV. It’s a wasted opportunity to offer more information and connect with the company – so don’t squander it.
Do Your Research
It’s a great idea to try to find out the HR manager of the company you’re applying to, and to start your cover letter addressing them by name. Not only will this show them you’ve done some extra work, which is always impressive, but it’ll likely make them feel more personally connected to you.
Know The Stylistic Requirements
Around a page of 12 point text is recommended for a cover letter. Any less looks lacking, while any more may take too much time to read and probably contains surplus information. Make sure you’re using an appropriate font and spacing. While you want your cover letter to stand out for the content, it should blend in in terms of look and format.
Choose A Good Blend
Rather than focusing too much on personal aspects, know how to mix in your professional achievements, skills and education. A good mix is a positive personality trait, between one and three “soft skills,” between one and three “hard,” professional skills, and one education achievement.
It sounds obvious, but you really should be enthusiastic about the job. If you are simply listing your achievements and successes without sounding like you truly care, you’re unlikely to even be considered. Show you want the job, and even better – explain why.
By following these tips, you can improve your cover letters and over time they will become easier to write. Your cover letters will stand out in the pile and you will find yourself increasingly on the radar of prospective employers.
By Annie Walton
Annie Walton Doyle writes for Inspiring Interns, which specialises in sourcing candidates for internships. To browse our graduate jobs London listings, visit our website.