"CVs often seem like a walk in a park compared to the dreaded cover letter. You probably begin by browsing cover letter examples online wondering where on earth to start and if you should bother applying at all.
“Laura Slingo is Digital Copywriter for the UK's leading independent job board, CV-Library. Here she offers her top tips on writing an expert level cover letter. “
But even though 43.5% of you find tailoring your cover letter time consuming, and a further 19.9% believing that your CV should be enough, a bespoke cover letter is necessary for every application.
To help you out, here are our top tips for writing an expert-level cover letter:
Address the correct person
Firstly, your cover letter should be written in a standard letter format with the correct salutation.
It’s on the verge of criminal activity addressing your cover letter “To Sirs”, “To Sir/Madam” or “To whom it may concern”. Not only is this a little bit too Dickensian, but it also shows that you haven’t done your research properly.
Address every cover letter to the person handling the vacancy. You should be able to find the recruiter or hiring manager’s name in the job description. If it’s not listed, you could check out the company’s meet the team pages. Still can’t find the correct addressee? A simple phone call will do the trick.
Avoid regurgitating your CV
Your cover letter should never be a re-write of your CV. It should be used to explain and expand on your key responsibilities and achievements.
Cover letters are great because they offer the opportunity to write in full sentences, rather than snappy bullet points. As a result, you can easily show the employer the story of why you’re such a great fit for the position.
Be as relevant as possible
It’s all very well expanding on the points in your CV, rather than regurgitating them, but what you’re detailing needs to be relevant to the application.
Go through the job description and see what requirements stand out the most as the recruiter will be on the lookout for these. You could always paste the description into a word cloud tool like Wordle to help you out.
Support your skills with tangible metrics
Like in your CV, you must support your claims and experiences with facts and numbers wherever possible. This will clearly show employers what you’re capable of as numbers speak louder than words.
Show what you can do for the company
The trap that most people fall into when writing a cover letter is rambling on about how this position would be a great opportunity for them.
But employers know that this is a brand new opportunity that’s likely to help your career develop – presumably that’s why you’re applying for the job. Instead, you should flip this on its head and write about why you’re such a great catch and would make a valuable asset to the company.
Prove to them that your skills are so great; they’d be foolish not to consider you.
Cut the buzzwords
A few buzzwords peppered throughout your CV are great, particularly if they’re referenced in the job description. However, if you’ve been a little heavy-handed, they can be detrimental to your application.
Rather than describing yourself as an “excellent communicator” or a “team player”, highlight your skills with descriptive statements that show the recruiter these qualities. Yes, this might take up an extra line or so, but your cover letter will be stronger as a result.
For more expert advice on job searches, careers and the workplace, visit their Career Advice pages"
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