Why use a Cover letter?
Creating a cover letter gives you the opportunity to highlight your selling points and explain why you are sending your CV.
It allows you to explain what qualifies you for the opportunity, why you are interested and the emphasis should be on what you can offer rather than placing emphasis on what you are hoping to gain.
A cover letter will yield the best results if it is targeted to “match” a specific job specification. Mass produced cover letters do not generally receive as favourable a response as an individually tailored one.
Address your letter to a specific person rather than “To Whom it May Concern” or “Dear Sir or Madam.” You can call companies directly and ask a receptionist for the name, title and correct spelling of the appropriate contact or try to get the information from their website or company LinkedIn page.
Pay particular attention to grammar, typing and spelling; avoid the temptation to turn your cover letter into an extensive autobiography and keep it to one page.
It is important to remember that you are writing the cover letter to get an interview.
GUIDE TO WRITING A COVER LETTER:
First Paragraph – Clearly communicate the reason why you are writing, name the position for which you are applying, and explain how you heard of the opportunity.
Second Paragraph – State why you are interested in working for this particular company (demonstrate that you have done your research) and specify your interest in this type of work. If you have had experience, point out what particular achievements you have accomplished. Be sure to quantify your accomplishments with figures and percentages (without breaking any non-disclosure agreements, of course) as this adds greatly to the strength and eventual impact of a carefully crafted cover letter. Ensure that the key strengths in your cover letter are also to the fore within your CV as the reader will expect continuity when they commence reading your CV.
Third Paragraph – Describe your major strengths as they relate to the position you are seeking. The idea is to create interest and show how your skills and qualifications can be of value to the reader–to make them want to know more.
Fourth Paragraph – Express enthusiasm and ask for an interview.
Your Name (typewritten)
Enclose your CV.
Tips for cover letters:
- Show what you can do for the reader; keep the focus on your qualifications and skills and how they match the job spec.
- Limit the letter to one page.
- Examine the job responsibilities and qualifications and design your cover letter to match these as much as you can. If the advertisement is vague look at adverts for similar jobs to infer what skills and abilities might be required.
- Mention one or two specific accomplishments or strengths that demonstrate your expertise or proficiency and make the reader want to know more.
- Use standard Business Letter Format
- Proofread your letter before sending it out. Proper grammar, spelling and punctuation are essential.
- Your cover letter should be written to a specific person; never address your cover letters to “Dear Sir or Madam.” Take the time to get an appropriate contact name, correct spelling and accurate title.
- Always use a professional rather than a conversational tone.
- Write an original cover letter for each employer and position to get the best results. It needs to be tailored.
- Be positive in tone, choice of words and expectations; convey your enthusiasm and ask for an interview.
Sample Cover Letter – with work experience
Dear (Name the person)
I would like to apply for the position of “XXXX” with XXXX and have attached my CV for your attention.
I have xx years’ experience gained from within xxxxxx. This is a broad role that involves dealing with the full range of xxxxxxx.
I am hardworking, self-motivated and reliable. I have a proven track record within xxxxxxxxxxx and have concrete skills in the areas of XXXXXXXX, XXXXXX, XXXXX and XXXX (Highlight the skills you have that match the skills they are looking for in the advert).
I am aware of XXXX as a group, am very interested and would welcome the opportunity to meet with you. I will make myself available for interview at your convenience.
I hope my details are of interest and will call you on the XXX to answer any questions you may have. In the meantime please do call me on XXXX
I look forward to speaking with you in due course.