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4 tips for writing the ideal cover letter

This is an opportunity to quickly introduce yourself and make an early attempt to sell yourself as the best fit for the job.

A well-constructed cover letter can make your application capture the attention of a potential employer. While a generic, sloppy one could mean that your CV disappears into the black hole of average candidates, never to be read.

Unfortunately, there’s no way to make your application stand out, but you can maximise your chances by following these simple cover letter tips.

Short but sweet

While your CV contains all your relevant experience and skills, a cover letter should highlight only the most relevant points.

It’s key to keep it brief and relevant, as potential employers tend to have many applications to work through, and simply don’t have the time to read through multiple lengthy paragraphs.

Also, the cover letter gives you an opportunity to demonstrate your language skills, so do ensure that you’ve proofread it and checked for spelling and grammar errors.

Laying it out

Starting with an introduction that establishes which job you’re applying for and why you would be suitable for it. Immediately after this, include a bullet-point list detailing why you should be interviewed.

Victoria McLean from CityCV.co.uk has advised writing an introduction followed by a couple of paragraphs demonstrating how you fit the role’s requirements. According to McLean, you should conclude the cover letter with a paragraph expressing your interest in the role and how well you match the employer’s requirements.

Even if the job advert doesn’t specify a cover letter, it’s a good idea to write the email that you attach your CV to in a cover letter style: this is an opportunity to quickly introduce yourself and make an early attempt to sell yourself as the best fit for the job.

Tone of voice

Where possible, address the letter to a specific person; if you aren’t sure who this should be, check LinkedIn or even call the company to ask for a contact name. If necessary use the formal ‘Dear Sir/Madam’, though be aware as this may not be suitable for all companies.

If you want to maintain a sense of your own personality, you could write with a more conversational tone, but make sure not to be overly informal.

Do your homework

Research the potential employer and use that knowledge when constructing your letter. Employers find it encouraging to read an application from someone who knows the company and can explain exactly why they would be a good fit.

While the recruitment process is a two-sided one, remember that at this stage it’s all about the organisation and how you can meet their needs. Don’t be tempted to send the same generic cover letter to every company you’re applying to. Each cover letter should be written specifically for the job you’re applying for.

Source: Recruiting times

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