It’s time to get that job you deserve!
Would you like to get more notice from hiring managers? These days, it's more important than ever before to have a tailored cover letter. To ensure that you get the job you deserve and significantly increase your chances of being interviewed, we have answered the most common questions so you can effectively show your professionalism and expertise on paper to make your next cover letter stand out.
Should I tailor my cover letter for each job?
Before I put my hiring manager’s hat on and answer this enquiry, I’m going to ask two questions. The first is, do you feel like your cover letters are all the same, regardless of the job that you're applying for? The second is, do you know how to write an effective cover letter? If you don’t know how to tailor an engaging, relevant and effective cover letter for each job, I’ll be honest in saying that you are wasting your time sending one.
Let me put it this way, when you are searching through the shelves at the bookstore, generally, you have a niche in mind that you want to read up on. When you are reading a cover letter, you’re not expecting to read a love story or the latest thriller plot, but you are expecting to read information that is relevant to the topic at hand. The topic you need to write about is the job you are applying for. Therefore, if you write the same generic plot for every job you apply for, chances are, they are going to pick your book up, I mean, cover letter! And put it back down again. You don’t want this to happen. You want them to get engaged and think, this is the character in the novel that is going to be the perfect one!
How do you write a cover letter for each job?
Now that we know a cover letter should be tailored to the job you're applying for, the next step is knowing how to write an effective cover letter for each job. When writing a cover letter, the following guide is best practice:
Step 1: Review the job advertisement and position description to understand what skills and qualifications the employer is looking for.
Step 2: Compose a cover letter that summarises your work experience and addresses any requirements they may have, such as how your education is relevant. It would also be helpful to reiterate how you believe you'll be an asset for the company or institution.
Step 3: When considering how to format a cover letter, it should always be addressed to a specific person where possible. End the cover letter on a positive note by thanking them for their consideration.
Step 4: Proofread! Remember, it should always do its best to be error-free and lack grammar or formatting issues.
How do you write an introduction to a cover letter?
The first thing to ask yourself is "What are the qualities of a terrific cover letter?"
There are many ways to write a cover letter introduction. The worst thing you can say is, “I’m eager to advance my career” in all honesty, the recruiter couldn’t care less. What they want to know is that you can do the job, and do it well. If you are eager to succeed in the role, you are the perfect candidate for them!
A few boring examples to start the cover letter include confirming which job you are applying for, introducing yourself and what you have to offer, or indicating how excited you are about the company. Remember, if you pick up a book and enjoy the plot you going to keep reading! The opening line is your opportunity to capture the reader’s attention, therefore, you want to skip the boring introductions. Instead, skip directly to what you can offer them, mixed with why you are eager to apply.
A good way to kick off a cover letter with an introduction is by making sure that you get straight to the point. You also can’t expect the hiring manager to connect the dots between the lines, therefore, you need to make the critical connection for them. Additionally, you now know that the first statement needs to be a relevant and engaging introduction to ensure the reader wants to keep reading everything there is to know about you.
The introductory sentence has to provide some bait by promising something exciting or valuable... but it also has be short enough so readers don't stop there and lose interest before they reach your tell-all paragraphs at the end. Here is an example of a good introduction paragraph for a recent graduate:
"A compassionate social worker graduate, I am eager to support your vulnerable community of recent migrants, including listening to stories from people of diverse ages, abilities, and cultural backgrounds.”
Another excellent example for a receptionist or a front-line customer service operator would be:
"A fun, energetic and friendly customer-advocate, I am eager to give your customers the best first impression of your company.”
The graduate statement above is great as it speaks directly about the types of clients that the graduate will need to build relationships with from day one. It also speaks to the employer’s needs for having someone who is compassionate and willing to listen to people’s confronting migration stories. For the customer-orientated example, it speaks to the companies need for the first contact being a positive one. By calling out their personal qualities up front, it makes it easy for the reader to already picture them sitting at their desk, with their headset on, smiling and chatting away professionally with the customer.
The second part of the sentence, “I am eager to give your customers the best first impression of your company” mixes the reasons why they are eager for the role – being successful in a role makes it rewarding and less of a chore that pays the bills.
Once again, whatever you do, don't forget that this first paragraph really needs an intense message to call out why you should be interviewed over someone else, letting the text on the page stand to reason as to why someone should read your cover letter in its entirety.
What is the best layout for a cover letter?
The layout should be similar to the free cover letter template for a Client Administration Officer below:
Dear Insert Hiring Manager’s Name,
Re: Client Administration Officer opportunity,
A knowledgeable, experienced, and dynamic professional, I am eager to support the company through continuous growth by maintaining service levels and upholding superior levels of customer service.
RECENTLY/CURRENTLY employed as a/an POSITION for ORGANISATION, I perform to a high standard by RESPONSIBILITY/TASKS.
Prior to this, I held roles as a/an POSITION, POSITION, and a POSITION. Notable achievements in these roles include ACHIEVEMENT, achievement, and achievement. Combined, these activities have provided me with the skills and expertise required to act as the first point of contact for a portfolio of clients for Insert Organisation.
Suitably experienced and qualified with a QUALIFICATION, QUALIFICATION, and QUALIFICATION, coupled with INSERT years of industry experience, I can also confirm that I possess the following qualities as required:
Furthermore, I am flexible in my availability and hold a LICENCE, LICENCE, and a LICENCE.
While I have enjoyed my recent experiences as a POSITION, I am now seeking a new challenge. Therefore, please find other experience reflected in my resume to pique your interest to shortlist me for an interview. I can be contacted at EMAIL or MOBILE NUMBER at a time of your convenience.
I look forward to hearing from you.
How do you tailor a cover letter for a job?
It's always a good idea to tailor your cover letter to the specific job you're applying for. If you know what a company likes in an applicant, it’s easy to tailor your cover letter accordingly. You can do this in a few ways, by reading the job advertisement, reading up on social media news posts, talking to the recruiter about how your skills translate to the new role, finding out what the role’s challenges will look like 60-90 days from now. Then, in your cover letter, describe how you would excel at doing all of those things while also pulling some keywords from the job description and mentioning any relevant experience.
The less said is sometimes more when it comes to crafting a solid cover letter for a job application! After determining whether the hiring manager values any particular skills or personal qualities you can prove that you have that particular quality in your cover letter, backed up by concrete facts from your resume or CV. This will help to keep the cover letter short and sweet so it doesn't read like word vomit :P
What do I do if I haven’t heard anything back?
If you're not hearing back from employers and this is starting to go on awhile, it could be due to something about your resume or cover letter which needs attention. The most common issues are spelling and grammar, so check for typos and language errors first, then check what your resume looks like on varying devices. Sometimes, if you have used Pages on a Mac, when you opening it on a Windows-based computer, it comes up as a corrupt file. No-one is opening that! Then ask yourself the following questions:
- Does my opening sentence stand out?
- Can I come up with three things that make me especially qualified for this particular position?
- Would I hire me for this position?
- Does my cover letter scream, “I’m desperate”?
- Does my resume and cover letter do me justice?
A good rule of thumb is to address any gaps that might be in alignment with what you have done before. Re-read the job description carefully to ensure that you have a good a sense of the type of person they are looking for and tailor both your resume and cover letter accordingly. If you don't meet some of their qualifications or relevant experience, let them know you are eager to learn. If you are swapping careers into an industry where you have limited experience, explain why you are doing so. If your skill set is not as desirable, try explaining how your current skills could transfer into the new role and talk about how much passion and enthusiasm you will bring to it.
How can The Perfect Resume Team Help?
The Perfect Resume is the best place to get your resume done as we believe in a personal touch. We take pride in our work and it shows! Whether you need help to write a cover letter or want some general advice about how to tailor your resume, our team is happy to help. We will personally review what you have, against the roles you are applying for and provide feedback on what needs work. Our team of professionals have years of experience in helping people find their perfect career path, including writing resumes which are tailored specifically for each client, thereby ensuring experiences shine through. If you would like assistance, email your resume through to firstname.lastname@example.org.
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