The job search can be frustrating when the employer doesn't leave their contact details on the job advertisement to call them. It's even more annoying when they don't provide clear instructions about what is expected from you. Well, don't despair. If you try to accommodate the following tips when writing your cover letter, you'll immediately be well above average.
Your most valuable job search tools include your resume, cover letter and LinkedIn profile.
Together, these resources give the hiring manager a clear picture of your personality, experience, and skill level - if they are written correctly. These tools provide a foundation for weighing your expertise against others and determining whether it is worth inviting you in for an interview to get a more accurate assessment of whether you meet the criteria.
"I used to be run off my feet. Hiring people was one of the most stressful parts of my role. You have to make costly decisions with, at times, minimal information." Melissa Peacock – Director
So, to ensure you are not wasting your time applying for a job you won't be considered for, read on to ensure your application offers you the best chance of success.
There is a golden rule to follow when applying for a job
Get your application in on time!
There is no point in spending precious time completing an application if you are not going to finish it to a high-quality standard BEFORE the submission deadline or closing date. If the employer uses applicant tracking system software to fast track their recruitment process, the chances are the cut off is a definitive end time as the computer will tell the ad to close. It will also stop any other applications from being accepted. If you can't get your completed forms to the employer before the deadline AND you know you are a value-added candidate, give the employer a call at the first opportunity and ask if you can email it directly to the manager. Contact the same decision-maker that you were going to address your cover letter to. The company name will be on the ad. If they don't provide a contact number, Google them, and ask to be put through to HR.
If you do the above, the hiring manager will most likely accept your emailed application; however, they are busy people with a staff member down (because they are hiring). Therefore, the manual steps required to attach your CV and cover letter to the applicant tracking system will most likely not happen…even though they know it would be in their best interest. So, if you don't hear anything back after a week, send them an email to follow them up. It may prompt them to invite you to an interview.
Tip: Cover letters that are addressed to a specific decision maker achieve better results.
How do I write a simple cover letter?
It's essential to be genuine and keep it brief! A simple, concise, and professional cover letter can be a powerful tool in getting your foot in the door. To structure your cover letter correctly, you need to research your answers to the following questions:
- What is the employer expected of me?
- What are my top skills?
- What quantifiable achievements do I have that are relevant to the job?
Then, start your cover letter with an impactful introduction, followed by the body of the letter, and finish with a closing paragraph thanking them for their consideration. This is not an opportunity to rehash what's already on your resume, so limit mentioning previous jobs/experience unless it adds something important to the application. Show examples of how you present yourself professionally in earlier work contexts; don't exaggerate - be true to who you are. Below are some key tips for how to write a cover letter.
What are you supposed to write in a cover letter?
Your cover letter should tell a good story with a clear, concise, engaging, and articulate approach. Firstly, tear up or delete your generic cover letter! They never work! Each organisation and role are subtly different; therefore, in just the same way, as resumes need to be tailored to the position you are applying for, so should the cover letter. A carefully targeted cover letter can easily mean the difference between success and failure instead of changing minor details such as the hiring manager and date.
Like all the best stories that suck you in, the best cover letters have an appropriate introduction, body, and conclusion. They need to be easy for the reader to scan on the first take but also packed with relevant information about your experience, skills, qualifications and, to a lesser extent, your personality when they weigh you against other candidates for the second shortlisting round. Take your time to phrase your thoughts carefully. Don't rush yourself.
How do you write a cover letter manually?
Generally, you only have a certain amount of space (1 page) and a certain number of words, so unless there are clear instructions to the contrary, a cover letter shouldn't exceed one A4 page in length. So you want to capture the reader's attention to make sure each word counts. Too many people fall into the trap of repeating too much of what resumes already say. The cover letter shouldn't replace your resume, it should complement it as an introduction, so they are tempted to learn more about you.
"I've read thousands of cover letters throughout my career. After a while, I started to notice the people who went to the effort to tailor an application letter over those who didn't." Melissa Peacock, The Perfect Resume Director
To get your short and sweet message across, make sure your letter is structured logically and make an impact with a powerful introduction that gets straight to the point. You can maintain the reader's interest from beginning to end with a handful of paragraphs or even break up large chunks of text with carefully structured bullet points. Draw the reader in with some key selling points. Otherwise, you will find yourself quickly rambling, and your cover letter quality will be rapidly diluted.
Don't be shy in asking for what you want.
End your cover letter with a positive and upbeat closing paragraph where you entice them for an interview. This paragraph also needs to have your name visible, email and one contact number so that they will contact you ASAP.
A request for an interview in the closing statement can show the reader that you have the self-confidence they would value in a new employee. While it would be a definite mistake to blow your own trumpet or arrogantly demand an interview, you can easily undersell yourself. Therefore, you need to do everything in your power to encourage one. One simple sales trick you can adopt is to be direct and ask for what you want. You want the reader to want to give you an interview! After all, people only get what they want if they ask!
Your Job Search Checklist before you hit APPLY!
1. Check your spelling and grammar
It's a competitive job market, and while it might seem obvious or hard to believe that people apply for jobs with errors, a good 90% of CVs The Perfect Resume reviews have spelling and/or grammar issues. This leaves a damaging first impression. If you can make sure that your application is error-free, you will instantly be at an advantage. Therefore, before sending off any letter or resume, make sure you have read through it very carefully. It's always a good idea to ask someone else to double-check it for you.
2. Check whether you are required to address a selection criteria
The key selection criteria document is separate from a cover letter and one that employers and interviewers will look for and judge you against others. Key selection criteria statements can range from behavioural responses to how you would respond in a specific situation or an explanation about a particularly challenging experience to determine your ability to solve complicated problems. If you are unsure how to respond to selection criteria, send your resume and the job you would like to apply to email@example.com.
3. Check how many times you have used the word 'I.'
Unlike a CV, a cover letter should be written in the first person. However, 'I' is often overused in cover letters. If you start every sentence with 'I', it can make for some very tedious reading. It also gives off very egotistical vibes. As the person who wrote your letter, it might not even be something you consider as it's hard to proofread your writing; however, if you give yourself a 24-hours break from the document, the next day with fresh eyes, you will be able to instantly spot any spelling, grammar, or overuse of the word 'I'. If you find you have an 'I' strain problem, look at each sentence and see if you can rephrase it or join multiple sentences together that start with 'I' so you can cut out the middle one.
|'I am experienced in social media marketing, and I also have a degree in Marketing Communications.'|
|'Experienced in social media marketing and backed by a degree in Marketing Communications, I can hit the ground running to grow your brand.'|
Hint: If you can turn around the sentence, as I have done above, to focus on 'you', it shifts the focus away from 'I' to 'you'.
Would you like some cover letter examples?
Below, there are a handful of cover letter examples for a few different roles. If you would like your Professional Writer from The Perfect Resume to craft a unique cover letter that suits your needs, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org or visit www.theperfectresume.com.au
Accounts Payable Manager Cover Letter Example
Dear Hiring Manager,
Re: Accounts Payable Manager opportunity
As a compelling Accounts Payable Manager who is confident to make decisions using experience-backed judgement and integrity, I look forward to sharing my passion for improving workflows and accuracy.
I display a solid work ethic and have proven organisational loyalty with [number] years at [organisation]. I have also had many more years of experience across various industries, including travel, tourism, food, and financial services, to name a few.
With finely attuned business acumen, strategic thinking comes naturally. I find solutions to operational inefficiencies, display initiative, and embrace positive change management. Improving workflows and procedural efficiencies are a strength of mine. As such, continuous improvement is a topic that I advocate strongly as it is an opportunity to make processes easier, deliver more customer-focused value and add extra dollars to the bottom line.
An active contributor to diversification and reorganisation of work, I believe in consistency and strive to deliver results. Therefore, I strive to align my skills, experience, and passion for making a difference to businesses that share my value. I believe I can offer you valuable insight that will result in improved cash flow for your business. I can be contacted on 0400 000 000 or via email at email@example.com at a time of your convenience.
I look forward to hearing from you.
First Last Name
Marketing Manager Cover Letter Example
Dear [insert Hiring Manager's name],
Re: [Insert position title] opportunity
A results-driven Marketing Manager, I have [Number] years of experience developing innovative goal-focused conversion strategies and executing a bold, consistent, and clear brand for organisations of all sizes.
With the changing digital landscape, I have kept up to date with technology and marketing advances. For instance, I am currently responsible for managing an organic marketing strategy for [insert organisation] which includes comprehensive keyword research, optimising website content, backlinking and other factors to improve SEO positions for target keywords. Further, I have experience in enhancing copy and landing pages for organic SEO success.
With a wealth of knowledge in the marketing space, I am particularly fond of governance over branding, such as implementing brand guidelines to ensure your marketing collateral sends a professional and consistent message to increase audience engagement. My marketing experience also extends to consistent internal communications, including how-to videos, webinars, presentations, user guides and newsletters.
I am analytical and well versed in measuring the effectiveness of content initiatives. This includes monitoring a campaign's impact on attributed revenue across multiple channels and customer touchpoints. Using Google Analytics, NetInsight, Omniture and WebTrends, I can ensure the business achieves maximum ROI in paid search campaigns.
Thank you for taking the time to consider my application. I hope I have piqued your interest in inviting me to an interview to discuss my application further. I can be contacted on 0400 000 000 or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
First Last Name
If you are unsure how to craft The Perfect Cover Letter, we can help. Give us a call at 1300 217 374 or send us the latest copy of your resume to email@example.com, and one of our Professional Resume Writers will review it for FREE. We will give you tips on making prospective employers hire YOU over ALL OTHER CANDIDATES – without paying anything.
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