Wondering how to write a cover letter? Or, even if you should bother writing one at all? In today's electronic age it is easy to forget the basic courtesies of applying for a job and the importance of writing cover letters to support your application are an often over-looked part of the process.
The value of writing a cover letter should not be under-estimated – it could mean the difference between you getting a chance to interview for a dream role or your resume getting lost under a pile of applications.
Your cover letter can be described as a sneak-peak to the main feature (your full resume!) and its main function is to get your CV read (find out how to write a CV). It is your chance to make personal contact and provide a link between you and the hiring manager for the position you are applying for.
Tips on how to write a cover letter :
- Avoid writing a lengthy (and potentially boring) cover letter. Four short paragraphs should be sufficient for you to gain the interest of the reader and help your application stand out from other applicants.
- Focus on the company's requirements rather than your own – look at what they have listed in the job description as to the main responsibilities of the role and the qualities they are looking for in candidates – describe your own skills and experience with the same language.
- Try to avoid flowery language and too much use of the word I, especially at the beginning of paragraphs.
- Always tailor your cover letter to the job that you are applying for and where possible address the person who has written the ad. A covering letter to a bank is unlikely to be the same as one to a media production company where you may have more scope for creativity.
- Before you hit send, check grammar and spelling carefully. Sloppy spelling could see your application sent straight onto the rejection pile.
How to structure your cover letter into four parts:
- The opening paragraph should tell the employer who you are and why you are contacting them
- The second paragraph outlines what you have to offer. Include three points that highlight your specific relevant experience or skills
- The third paragraph should include three points explaining how your achievements would add value to the company
- The closing paragraph should state clearly when you are available for interview.
For more information on writing a cover letter read our related article: