How to Write The Perfect Cover Letter for a Job | The Perfect Resume
The Perfect Resume team writes a tailored cover letter in a systematic, proven approach. This method lets the organisation know what you can offer, why it would be in their best interest to hire you and how inviting you into their team would add value to their organisation. All while correlating these aspects with the attributes of the role they need to fill.
The most prominent cover letter tip we can give you to give them a compelling reason to invite you for an interview. Depending on the role, a more professional approach may be required. Some positions may call for statements to be backed by real-life examples, rather than just speaking hypothetically. Illustrating your points with specific, relevant examples from your own experience will dramatically increase their impact.
Tips for writing an engaging cover letter
1. Stop Thinking A Cover Letter Doesn't Matter!
You would be surprised how many people think they can send off the CV on its own without a cover letter. Some recruiters don't read cover letters, some base their hiring decision on them. Why take a chance at all?
2. Stick to one page only!
As a general rule, most cover letters don't ad shouldn't exceed one A4 page in length. Never lose sight of the fact that your cover letter is not intended to take the place of your CV; it is meant as an introduction.
Unless there is an explicit instruction to the contrary, you should aim to keep your letters short and sweet. A handful of paragraphs usually are more than enough to whet the recruiter's appetite and entice them to read your CV.
3. Quit Spamming Everyone With A Generic Cover Letter
In just the same way that your CV should ideally be tailored for each application, so should your cover letter. It is even more important to tailor your cover letter. A carefully targeted message can easily mean the difference between success and failure. It is astonishing how many people use a generic cover letter and the same CV for every single application.
It stands to reason that every job and every organisation is different and every cover letter should, therefore, be subtly different. If you are someone who sends the same cover letter to everyone, you only need to change a few minor details such as the organisation's name, hiring manager's name and role purpose to ensure the cover letter is tailored to them.
4. Focus on what the employer wants from you, not what you have done in your career so far.
Snippets from your resume are OK, such as letting them know what you currently do for a job and how the skills obtained in the role transfer to the new position. Additionally, mentioning your education and other certifications may be essential. What you should avoid is repeating slabs of text as it will reduce the recruiter/hiring manager's time spent reading your resume.
A cover letter is an opportunity to draw the reader's attention to some of your key selling points, such as skills, experiences and achievements. You should do so in a way that makes it clear how these will be of interest and potential benefit to the reader.
When you apply for a position, they already have a copy of your CV. Therefore, your cover letter should complement it, not repeat it.
Your cover letter should introduce your CV, not replace it!
Nobody wants to read the same thing twice.
Nobody wants to read the same thing twice.
5. Avoid going off on different tangents. Instead, use a simple, structured format.
Like all the best stories, the best letters have a strong, and clearly defined beginning, middle and end. It is essential to make sure that your cover letter is structured logically. Capture their attention, make an impact, maintain their interest and finish with a persuasive closing paragraph.
You only have one page of content to get a clear message across to the reader. If you don't structure your cover letter carefully, you will end up rambling, and the impact of your cover letter will be diluted.
6. I this, I that, I the other, me, me, me!
The word "I" is often overused in cover letters. Unlike a CV, a cover letter should, of course, be written in the first person. However, if you start every sentence with "I", then it can make for pretty tedious reading. You also risk conveying an impression of arrogance and egocentrism.
It might not be easy to cut down the use of "I"; however, you should make an effort to do so. Look at each sentence that begins with "I" and see whether you can rephrase it so that it starts with a different word.
You may be able to turn round a sentence so that it starts with "You" or "Your" which is ideal. In doing so, you shift the focus on the reader and not yourself.
7. Adopt a marketing trick by having a clear "call to action" at the end of your cover letter!
The key to ending your cover letter is to ensure you can do so in a positive, upbeat manner. You can't exactly demand a response from the reader. However, you need to do everything in your power to encourage one. This is where a marketing trip, known as a "call to action" comes in handy.
A call to action is a term to describe a message to the reader of an advert or other promotional material that is specifically designed to motivate them to take some specific action, perhaps to pick up the phone and place an order - for example, "Call now while stocks last."
A right call to action message is to ask for an interview. After all, that is why you are writing a cover letter in the first place.
8. Leave the salary talk until after they want you for an interview. Then, if they really want you, you can negotiate the wage that you want.
You should certainly never voluntarily bring up the question of money in an initial cover letter. It can be a fatal mistake because it sends a clear message to the reader that you are more focused on your own needs than you are on theirs.
Many job adverts will, of course, specifically ask you for details of your current or expected salary. You're also not going to get away with pretending you didn't notice the question! If a job advert asks for your current or expected salary, then you're going to have to give them an answer. Failure to do so will most likely result in your application being summarily rejected. It's not a risk worth taking.
9. Proofread your Cover Letter for Linguistic Errors
Research has shown that 90% of resumes and cover letters we review contain spelling or grammatical errors. It might seem obvious to run a grammar and spelling check. It also might be hard to believe that people send out letters with mistakes in them. But believe me, it happens all the time. Therefore, if you can make sure your cover letter is error-free, you will immediately be at an advantage.
It is essential to check and double-check that there are not any spelling or grammatical errors, as this is most likely the recruiter's first impression of you. Make sure it is a positive one!
In conclusion, a cover letter is a companion document that doesn't rewrite your CV or replace it. It adds a more profound element to your application.
Research how indicated that you could improve your chances of landing an interview by 40%. Therefore, if you are going to the trouble of sending off your CV, then it is always worth taking a little bit longer to construct a brilliant cover letter to go with it.
If you would like assistance to create a tailored cover letter, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org, and we can help!