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Your Cover Letter

Posted on: 03 Jan 14


Your Cover Letter

A cover letter is 'executive summary' of your CV. Just as your CV should be tailored for each job, so should your cover letter be. That is, keep it short, to the point and make every word count. You’ve got ten seconds to make an impression – and that includes your CV.

1. Stand out immediately

There’s only one first line, so use it to make yourself stand out. Introduce yourself and highlight any of the areas of your CV that you think particularly make yourself a stand-out candidate. In fact, every line of the cover letter should sell you and give the employer a specific reason as to why they should hire you.

Format the cover letter in a way where your achievements are highlighted first and foremost, so that the recruiter doesn’t have to read too much into the letter before they’re hooked.

2. Why you're their ideal candidate and why they're your ideal company

As a cover letter is an executive summary of your CV, highlight your achievements and why you think you’re a great fit for the company.

Why should they choose you? What can you offer them that no one else can?
It’s time to talk them up too. They want to know why they’re your first choice. As a word of warning, anything insincere can be spotted instantly. If you don’t believe what you’re writing yourself, don’t say it.

3. Layout

Make sure that their address is in the top right hand corner, and that you've included your contact details on the page. Always address it to a specific person, which may mean having to do a bit of research.

Most importantly you want to tell the reader how they can contact you for an interview. Even if you already have the details on the top, assume you’re getting through to the next step and you need to finish off with a call to action. E.g. Looking forward to speaking with you soon.

4. Proofread and edit

So important! Get someone else to proofread and edit, come back to the letter in a few hours, re-write and edit again. By all means, avoid writing the wrong company name, name of recruiter or get their acronyms wrong. For them, these details are personal, and it’s going to be the first thing they notice, and the last thing that they remember.

5. Follow up

Great, you’ve sent the letter off and now you’re waiting for that interview. If you don’t hear back from the recruiter in a week or two then call up and ask to speak with them to find out how your application is doing, when you’re likely to hear from them or ask for feedback on your application if the result is negative. It’s scary and daunting and there’s a chance that it won’t work out. But there is also a chance that it will – and that was worth all the nerves.

Mike Wood- editor

Last updated on: 07/08/2014 13:59:48

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