In my recruitment job I see a lot of cover letters. Unfortunately, a lot of them aren’t very good – either too generic or way too long. However, if you write a compelling cover letter, you will significantly increase your chances of being invited for an interview.
Here are my 4 tips on how to write a great cover letter:
Keep it brief
Recruiters are too busy to read very long cover letters, so it is best to keep it concise. Succint paragraphs are much better than long essays!
If you only had 15 seconds to tell the employer why they should meet you, what would you say? Put THAT in your cover letter.
All you need to put in the cover letter is why you’re interested in the job, why you’re qualified (don’t forget to mention specific accomplishments) and finish with a call to action and a request for information on the next step in the hiring process.
Customise your cover letter
Customizing your cover letter is just as important as customizing your CV/resume. If you don’t take the time to customize your letters, you might as well not send them at all.
You need to make sure you relate your qualifications to the job requirements in your letter. Make sure you talk about specific accomplishments and results you have achieved that are relevant to the qualifications listed on the job description.
Show you’ve done your research
Show you’ve done your research by including company-specific content – hiring managers will be looking for details that show you’ll be a good fit.
Simply make note of any industry-related news, new products, or recent announcements you’ve seen about the company to demonstrate you’re paying attention.
Make sure your application is error-free and professional quality
As with the CV, it is important your cover letter is well laid out, has no spelling or grammar mistakes. Some candidates show no attention to detail at all and I’ve seen many cover letters where the candidate hasn’t even removed the job title of the previous application or they’ve even used the wrong company’s name!
A lot of job seekers feel it is too much work to customise their CV and cover letter for each position to which they are applying for. However, it is better to apply for less jobs but tailor your application accordingly, rather than send the same resume and cover letter to too many jobs. To find out more about how to tailor your applications to specific jobs, sign up for my FREE video training “Smart strategies to help you get interviews.”