Cover letters let you tell a story, reveal your personality and build rapport. They also give a chance to stand out from other job applicants. While there is conflicting advice in regards to the necessity of cover letters, most employers prefer a cover letter that addresses key points of the role.
Let’s start with the basics:
What is a cover letter? It is a document that candidates submit alongside their resume, when applying for a job. It serves as a personal introduction to your professional career, and enables you to briefly summarise why you are the right candidate for the job, before the employer goes on to find more about you in your resume.
Not everyone makes the effort to write a tailored and personalised cover letter. So, if you do, it is likely that you will catch the attention of the employer. Putting some time and energy into writing a memorable cover letter is a good investment for your job applications.
Here are some easy to use cover letter writing tips:
Research before you start writing. Read about the business, their culture and values. Use their official website and social media profiles.
Personalise by addressing your cover letter personally to the hiring manager; it is obvious if you have just edited a few words.
Connect the dots. If a friend has referred this job to you, mention it. Maybe you have interned with an employee of the organisation or their partners? Remember to mention any connections you may have to the business.
Optimise your cover letter by using the keywords mentioned in the job description. But remember not to overdo it. Be realistic and honest.
Be succinct when mentioning concrete facts and information about yourself. Do not repeat what is already visible on your resume.
Availability should be mentioned towards the end of the letter.
Sign off professionally with a formal power phrase such as, ‘I would like to discuss in greater detail the value I could bring to your organisation’.
Spell-check and ensure the formatting is correct.
A memorable cover letter should engage the reader and communicate your personality, values and interest in the role. It should be complementary and not repetitive, and therefore enhance your story.
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