The Cover Letter is the first chance you get to separate yourself from the other hundred’s of applications. Your chance to amp up your relevant experience on the very first page and let your passion for the company and role shine through.
You want the reader to want to meet you, just from your engaging cover letter. But this freedom also means you can hang yourself by some very simple mistakes.
As a recruiter, I have seen many Cover Letters and more often than not they were terrible, boring, regurgitations of the CV. A total waste of an opportunity to sell yourself and show a snippet of the person behind the CV.
So, what can you do to present a killer cover letter that will get you through the door for an interview?
Be Personal and Address the Letter to an Actual Person Within the Company
You must find the name of a real person to whom you can direct the cover letter, whether it’s the Recruiter whose name is at the bottom of the advert, or the Hiring Manager (normally the advert or application will tell you the department or who the role reports to), this information can easily be found on Linked In, Google, the Company website or by calling the receptionist. As a last resort identify another recruiter in the company or the HR Director. But your letter must be addressed to an actual person. This effort will be noted.
I can tell you without hesitation, that when I received applications directed to “Dear Sirs” (especially as a female) or “To Whom It May Concern”, does not leave a positive impression. You appear lazy and indifferent to your job search, that it was one of many emails sent to a multitude of roles. This apathy suggests you are not taking your job search seriously enough to address the letter to me directly and in response to this specific job.
Explain Why, Specifically, You’re Interested in the Company
Companies want to hire people who want to work for THEM, not people who just want a new job, or in fact any job. Make them feel special; that you’ve picked them for a reason and that you’re passionate about working for them. Research the company, the reasons they are hiring, current projects, the directors, read their blog, find out as much as possible to leverage this information and be clear in your Cover Letter on the reasons you are applying for this specific job in their company.
Be Concise and Cut to the Chase
Waffle will not cut it. Scrutinise the job description and all other information you’ve collated about the company, identify the key requirements they are seeking for the job, and make it instantly clear that you can deliver on these critical areas through an example or achievement of your specific experience for each requirement, concisely (no waffle, no essays).
So here you have it, the top 3 strategies to writing a cover letter that should get you in front of the hiring manager. Make sure it’s no longer than 1-page and you have proof-read it over and over (and over again). And the last critical factor when it comes to delivering a great cover letter: Be You.
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