5 Top Tips For a Winning Cover Letter

  | James Innes

Cover letters are the most important part of an application, although the majority of people spend the least amount of time working on them. When recruiters have 100's of CVs to shortlist from, cover letters are the first document they read. You must be able to show that you are able to meet the requirements of the job and inspire the recruiter to read your CV. Here is some guidance to help you to prepare an effective cover letter.

1. Different cover letter for a different job - Never use a generic cover letter when you are applying for a job at a specific company. If a potential employer believes you have given them a generic letter, they will toss it and they will not contact you. Your cover letter should be relevant to the job industry and company if you expect to receive a reply.

2. Keep it brief – Try keeping it to one page, ideally consisting of three paragraphs and consider using bullet points. You don't need to go into too much detail and repeat information which is already included in your CV. Remember the longer your cover letter is, the less time a recruiter will have to spend on reading your CV.

3. The first paragraph - The first paragraph of your cover letter should express your interest in the position and why you're interested in this job, show you know what the role is and you understand all the duties involved. Its also recommended to mention you've attached your CV and where you saw the advert for the position you are applying for. Also, say why you want to work for that organization in particular, referring to any research that you have done on the company to emphasize that you fully understand them and the way they operate. Describe your career development/ambitions, and tie these in to the activities and interests of the employer.

4. The second paragraph - This paragraph should draw attention to the most relevant aspects of your career, making strong connections between your skills and the jobs requirements. Go through the job description and provide three bullet pointed relevant examples of your skills as they relate to the key requirements in the job description.

5. The final paragraph - Express confidence in your ability to contribute to the success of the company and indicate that you look forward to taking your application a step further at the interview stage. The final paragraph should conclude the letter with any other information requested in the advert such as availability for interview.

Final thoughts - You may already have a Cover Letter and wish to improve, update or tailor it to apply for a specific job. Consider using a professional CV writing and cover letter service.

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