When you are applying for your dream job, your attention is probably focused on perfecting your CV and preparing for your interview.
But bear in mind that the first thing your hiring manager will see is your cover letter. You never get a second chance to make a good impression, so it is vital that you get your cover letter right the first time.
If you are like many of our clients, you will probably agree that writing about yourself is somewhat challenging. Sometimes, it can be tricky to even know where to start – especially when your ideal job is the golden trophy you are hoping to achieve at the end!
If you are in the job-hunting process and you need to refresh your knowledge on how to write a stand out cover letter, you are in the right place!
What is a cover letter?
The aim of a cover letter is to provide additional information about your job application. Your CV aims to provide relevant information about your qualifications and experiences, but a cover letter has a slightly different goal: it acts as a sales pitch that connects the dots between your CV and the requirements of your dream job. In other words, a cover letter can determine whether or not a hiring manager reads your CV.
Are cover letters necessary?
The simple answer is yes – unless it is explicitly stated otherwise in the job advertisement. In fact, most recruiters expect cover letters even when they are “optional”, so it is always a good idea to send one along with your CV or application form.
Top Tips on how to write a stand out cover letter in 2023
1: Use the recipient’s name
Rule number one: never start a cover letter with “to whom it may concern” or “Dear Sir/Madam”!
Always address your cover letter with the name provided in the job description, and if a name hasn’t been provided, do your homework and look for it. In most cases, it is relatively easy to find the name of the hiring manager on LinkedIn or on the company website. But if those searches prove fruitless, you can always take the traditional route of phoning the company to ask.
2: Keep it to one page of A4
Remember that recruiters are typically time short and will not wade through page after page of information about you (regardless of how perfectly suited to the role you may be!). We recommend that you write about three to four short paragraphs in concise and clear language.
3: Keep it relevant
Hiring managers are interested in you for one reason only; what you can bring to the job they have advertised. They do not need to know about your personal life! Your cover letter could include:
- Your name
- The role you’re applying for and its reference number
- How you first heard about the job
- Your most relevant qualifications, skills and work experience
- Why you want to work at the organisation
- Your contact details and availability
- The value you would bring to the role
Do not ask about salary (unless the company specifically asks for your salary requirements).
4: Show you are a good fit
Your cover letter is a good place to show that you are a good cultural fit for the job vacancy. Researching the company’s values will give you ideas on how you can align your personal ethos to that of the company.
5: Use a PDF
If you are emailing your cover letter rather than sending a hard copy, you should send it in a format that cannot be altered by the receiver i.e. a PDF or a read-only file. Sending your cover letter in an attachment rather than in the body of the email will also make it easier for recruiters and hiring managers to find it should they need to come back to it further along the selection process.
6: Think about your subject line
Again, if you are sending your cover letter via email, you need to make sure that your subject line clearly conveys the contents of your mail.
Some good options you may want to include as subject lines are:
- Cover Letter – Job Title – Your Name
- Cover Letter: Your Name for Job Title
- Your Name Cover Letter: Job Title
Remember to keep it simple. Recruiters get bombarded with emails every day!
7: Tailor your cover letter
It is crucial that you tailor each cover letter for each role that you apply for so that your details are always relevant to the job description. Think how many candidates will send the same cover letter to multiple businesses. Be the one who stands out by ensuring each cover letter you write is tailor made for the job you are applying for and that your language matches the tone of the description.
Nothing is more off putting than sloppiness! One of the best ways to show that you are diligent is to ensure your cover letter has no spelling or grammar mistakes. Showing your potential future employees that you have put time and effort into your cover letter will assure them that you will put the same level of care and attention into your work.
We hope you found this blog on cover letter writing helpful. Would you like to have a custom made cover letter written by a professional Career Consultant? Get in touch now and we will help you straight away!