What? You thought the cover letter wasn’t that important, it’s all about the CV right? That’s what you put all your hard work and effort into and that’s what prospective employers will be judging you on. True, your CV is hugely influential and you can see we’ve posted tips about its significance below. The cover letter is its lesser valued younger sibling, the side to your main, the Liverpool to your Man United if you will. It’s important to keep in mind that this will be your first point of contact and as the saying goes “first impressions count”. Big time! When the race begins for the year’s fresh new batch of jobs, you have to give yourself every possible advantage over the mass of people applying for the same job as you. This is the beauty of the cover letter, it’s often overlooked by job hunters but it can be instrumental in separating yourself from the crowd. Here’s how to make sure your cover letter stands out for all the right reasons………
Keep in mind that the person viewing your cover letter may be reading quite a few a day, consider yourself a diamond studded needle in the proverbial haystack. Dear Sir/Madam won’t cut it, many job listings show the name of the person hiring so using it along with MS/MR etc. is appropriate. Google the name of the company/workplace and find out who the hiring manager is or whomever you will be under and use their name. This will show initiative and enthusiasm, as well as grabbing their attention from the outset. If all else fails using Dear HR Manager is acceptable. Keep it brief, well paragraphed and remember spell check is your best friend!
When applying online you may be asked questions, do you have fluent English? Salary expectations? Can you commute? Make sure to answer them in your letter. If the employer wants 1,000 words on how to make a perfect cup of tea (I actually had to submit this once!) then give it to them. Some employers only accept CVs formats in adobe or Microsoft Word, reading the advert thoroughly will make sure you know what’s required. There is no need to repeat your CV but do refer to it.
Dear Mr. Smith,
Hi, I am replying to your ad for the position of Apple Picker as advertised on Imaginary jobs.net. I have followed your company’s growth for many years and know you will need someone proficient in apple picking.
What I am offering you is my 4 years’ experience picking apples in the Amazon. I have over 10 years of experience leading highly visible, complex projects and have earned a solid reputation for meeting aggressive deadlines and bringing internal/external customer satisfaction to new heights. When you look at my CV you will see why I am a great candidate for this position and my references will vouch for the caliber of my work.
Kind Regards/Best Wishes,
This is a basic example; there is no need to list your contact details unless specially asked, as they will be on your CV which you have attached! A more enthusiastic opening line could be along the lines “When I saw the ad for this position I just knew it was perfect for me.” It’s fine to play around a little as long as you’re professional.
More top tips to follow soon…
This is the first article in a top series by our writer Chris Loftus on how to write a perfect cover letter – stay tuned to the blog for more articles coming soon!