If you want to impress prospective employers, a well written covering letter is essential. Often candidates focus all their efforts on creating a great CV and ignore the potential the covering letter offers to add value to their application. The covering letter represents an ideal opportunity to expand on your skills and experiences, whether this is in the form of a response to a job advertisement or a speculative application.
As a rule a covering letter should be no longer than a page in length, giving you just enough room to talk about key points in detail, without descending into waffle. Employers expect all cover letters to be presented in a professional format using a word processor.
Advertisement Response Cover Letter
When writing a cover letter in response to a job advertisement, it’s important to show how you meet the criteria specified in the job description. Usually a job advertisement will detail the types of experience and skills a successful candidate will be expected to possess. It’s essential to demonstrate these skills in your application in order to advance to the next stage of the recruitment process.
Ensure you read the job description carefully so you know exactly what the recruiter is looking for in a successful candidate. The advertisement will also detail where your application needs to be sent, so make sure you address the letter to the correct person including any reference number specified in the advertisement. Often recruiters will be filling multiple vacancies at the same time, so you want to make sure they know which role you’re applying for.
What to include
Try to keep your cover letter contained in 3-4 paragraphs. The initial paragraph should be used to explain where you saw the vacancy and on what date. The main body of the letter can be used to include details of how your skills and experience would suit the role in question. Many job advertisements include a section on capabilities and skills, so try and show how you have demonstrated these in your current and previous employment.
Do your homework and research the company by going onto their website, this knowledge will help you to explain why you want to work for the company in question. If you can single out an aspect which sets them apart from other companies in the sector, this will highlight your industry knowledge and will go down well with recruiters.
Finally the last paragraph should answer any questions specified in the job advertisement, such as your current salary or expectations and your availability for attending an interview. Remember to re-read your cover letter before sending it to check for any spelling or grammar errors, or enlist the help of a CV Knowhow for an objective professional opinion.
Speculative Cover Letter
A speculative cover letter can give you increased flexibility, although you still need to demonstrate your skills and target your letter to the company in question. Although you don’t have the details of a job advertisement it’s important to address the letter to a specific person, rather than falling into the trap of starting it saying “Dear Sir/Madam”. Letters that are addressed to individuals tend to get better results, so to find a name have a look on the company website or call the recruitment team for the name of a contact.
What to include
Although you don’t have a specific job advertisement to reference, you can still highlight the type of role you are looking for. Request that your details remain on file for when a suitable vacancy arises in the future.
As always remember to carefully re-read your letter, making sure there are no spelling or grammar mistakes and ensuring the tone is positive and professional.
To maximise your chances of success, enlist the help of the professionals. The consultants at CV Knowhow have years of industry experience that can add value to your CV and covering letter. So if you’re after a no fuss service that will get the results you’re after, get in touch with our friendly team today.