How to Write a Cover Letter That Gets You Noticed
Imagine that, like an actor, you have your own personal agent. When you apply for a job, the agent goes to meet the employer on your behalf.
He gives them a quick idea of who you are, your background and why you're the best person for the job. The employer is suitably impressed and promptly invites you for interview.
Unfortunately, the luxury of a personal agent giving our services the hard sell is something we're never likely to experience.
However, thinking about how somebody else might promote you, is a good way to start considering the cover letter that you send out with your CV. It has to introduce you, explain why you're a suitable candidate, and make that all-important link between your professional CV and the advertised job vacancy.
You'd expect your agent to dress smartly, wouldn't you? So for a start, your cover letter needs to look professional and business-like. Of course, just as you can get well-dressed agents who can't do their job properly, the effectiveness of your letter will depend on its content.
What Should You Write in Your Cover Letter?
Here are some golden rules taken from our professional CV writers that will hopefully steer you towards achieving great results:
- It is essential to include your own contact details, the name and address of the person you're writing to, the date, and the job reference number (if there is one).
- Always try to address your letter to somebody by name. You can always phone and check who this should be. Present their name properly, as well as their title.
- If you can't find out the name of the person who advertised the vacancy, then address your letter 'Dear Sir or Madam'.
- In the first paragraph, mention the information that you're enclosing, whether this is an application form or your CV. This will make you appear efficient and organised.
- In paragraphs two and three, focus on the job itself. You need to show that you understand the key requirements listed in the job advert / job description and match them to the skills, experience and personal qualities you're offering.
- You should be summarising information at this point - more details are provided in your CV, remember.
- Make sure you've addressed all the key criteria in the job advert / job description. But don't go over the top - this must still sound like your own thoughts and words.
- Don't copy the wording from the job advert, this is a recipe for disaster, as other people will do this too.
- Keep your cover letter to just one-page, unless you're specifically asked for a longer cover letter.
What Else Can You Include in Your Cover Letter?
It's a good idea to mention your relevant personal qualities. Don't let modesty prevent you from mentioning your strengths.
Are you highly organised? Motivated by challenges? A good communicator? Happiest when working with the public? This is when you can give the employer an insight into your personality and characteristics as an employee.
Make sure that you sell yourself on your cover letter. Always make positive statements and never apologise for lack of experience, as you will only draw attention to it.
Finally, close the letter, saying you're available for interview and that you look forward to hearing from them.
If you know the person's name, then sign off with 'Yours sincerely'. If you don't, then use 'Yours faithfully'.
End the cover letter by typing your own name.
A Couple of Important Final Thoughts
- If you're going to upload or email your cover letter, then you should use Microsoft Word to create it.
- Never use exactly the same cover letter for a separate application. Rewrite it each time, tailoring your letter to the job in question.
- Once you get the hang of it, it'll get easier to write. Just remember that imaginary agent and you won't go far wrong.
Need Help With Your Cover Letter?
- If you're struggling, then get a professional cover letter from the experts at Bradley CVs.
- With over 23 years' experience in writing CVs and cover letters, we know exactly what employers and recruiters expect to see, so they'll quickly move you onto the 'to be interviewed' list.
Other Pages You Might Like to Visit
Please take a look at:
- Want to improve your CV? A professional CV service can significantly increase your chances of getting the interviews you want.
- FREE Report: Is your CV letting you down?: How to dramatically improve your CV
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