How to write a cover letter
When it comes to applying for a new job a cover letter is probably one of the most overlooked aspects. It could be something you’ve never thought about all these years of applying!
A cover letter could be what separates you from your competition. It could give you the edge you’re looking for and push you closer to a job interview.
So what is a cover letter?
A cover letter is essentially a one page introduction to your credentials and interest to the role. It is a brief summary of why you applied and why you would be the best person for the job.
The essential ingredients of a cover letter
The cover letter should contain your personal contact details at the top right hand side of the page. You can then decide to also state the company address you are applying to underneath on the left.
It should be addressed to the hiring manager directly, for example – ‘Dear Mr Mark Smith’.
Start the cover letter by confirming how you came across the job. It could be online or in the local newspaper, or possible even from someone that already works there. Then go on to say how you are passionate about the role and why you’d be the right person for the job.
This could be achieved by a brief explanation of your current skills, qualifications and past experience. You don’t however need to go into too much detail as this is what your CV is for. However, the cover letter is a great way to make the whole application process more personalised. Unlike a CV, the cover letter can be used to bring out your personality.
The letter should be concise and to the point, as well as passionate and enthusiastic about the employer and the role itself. Finally, a great way to close out the letter is to thank them for their time and state that you look forward to hearing back from them.
Although at this stage you haven’t yet been chosen for an interview, there is nothing wrong with being confident about your credentials. As long as you word it correctly you should come across confident in your own skills and grateful for the opportunity.
A cover letter isn’t mandatory
No, the covering letter isn’t essential and not everybody writes one. But if you want to get ahead of the competition it really is something we would recommend using to stand out. Trying to create a unique application is not easy, so do something different to the rest.
The cover letter gives you the chance to show the employer that you are passionate about the role and have taken the time to write a personal letter. The cover letter offers a chance to do something different to what your CV can.
Overall it shows a greater initiative over other candidates that haven’t written one, and could well mean the difference between success and failure.
For some fantastic examples and tips on how to write a cover letter, read – How to write a winning cover letter: what to include.
Jen Wiss-Carline has been a Senior Manager and Consultant for several sizeable companies which included dealing with all aspects of staff management and recruitment. She is also a Solicitor and Chartered Legal Executive, having been admitted as a Fellow in February 2006.