To the uninitiated cover letters can seem too old fashioned and even pointless, but they still play a very important role in the recruitment process. The purpose of a cover letter is to demonstrate your interest in a particular role or company, draw the attention of the reader to your CV with a few noteworthy experiences and to motivate them to interview you.
A well-written cover letter illustrates your suitability for the job by clearly linking your abilities and achievements from your CV with those that the role and company require, and given employers spend on average only six seconds looking at a CV it is vital that your cover letter encourages them to take the time to read it fully.
Here are some tips to writing the perfect cover letter:
Do not regurgitate your CV – you only need to select a few key skills, attributes and achievements to highlight to the reader and entice them to thoroughly read your CV
Look at the job ad and the key attributes and skills that the company wants and include the ones that are relevant for you in your cover letter
Connect your skills and attributes to your achievements – there is no point saying you are great at problem-solving, a hard worker or an amazing salesperson if you cannot back it up with something tangible that you have done; the proof is in the pudding as they say!
Be clear and succinct and keep your cover letter to one page – recruiters and hiring managers can receive hundreds of applications for each job they advertise and excessively long cover letters (and CVs) can be incredibly tedious and off-putting to read
Proofread before hitting send – it isn’t a good look if you reference a completely different job and/or contact person as it shows a lack of attention to detail and even worse a lack of genuine interest in the role
Taking the time to write a well-crafted cover letter to complement your CV is an investment worth making when applying for jobs, because it will give your application an edge over other less prepared applications and a greater chance at securing that all important interview.