There’s so many different elements to job searching that it can become confusing very quickly. A lot of emphasis is put on perfecting your CV and filling out the perfect application form, and so the humble cover letter often gets ignored. It’s that extra bit of effort that sometimes we just aren’t willing to conform to. We should be though.
The purpose of a cover letter is to give a succinct overview as to why the employer or company should consider you for the job role. It should introduce you in a way that shows your skills, your goals, and also what you can bring to them. One of the biggest mistakes when writing a cover letter is to focus too much on what you can do – yes, you’re the one applying for the job, but it’s the role that the employer is most concerned about.
Here are some suggestions for when you write your cover letter:
- Focus on your strengths – the employers want to know what you can bring to the role
- Write the cover letter in a professional and neutral tone – write it the way you would your CV and application form, with appropriate titles and all written in sentences
- Tailor the cover letter to each job role – although a template is a good idea for your cover letter, you must make sure that it looks as if it’s written specifically for that role. Employers hate generic applications!
- Write the letter in proper letter format, even if you’re emailing it across – include the company address, with “To whom it may concern” at the top and “Yours sincerely (followed by your name)” at the end
- Focus on your weaknesses or make excuses – this only makes you look bad, and will convince the employer that you’re not right for the job
- Request that the employer holds off on contacting your references – this can only ever look suspicious
- Copy and paste parts of your CV onto your cover letter – the employer will notice, and they will think that you are lazy
- Send it off without proofreading – check for spelling and grammar errors before you send!
A cover letter template is always a good idea to help get you started, and so if you need one then sign up here to access this for free, alongside other useful job searching resources.