Writing a covering letter can be a particularly daunting task; it is often the first contact with an employer, creating a critical first impression. Think of it as an additional sales tool for your CV – a platform in which you can tailor your experience and skills to the position, showing your application is worth considering.
Here are webrecruit’s top 10 tips on how to write an effective covering letter:
- Take the time to write a targeted covering letter for each position; research the company and the position so you can tailor your letter to the needs of the organisation
- Address your covering letter personally if you can
- The first paragraph is the most important – grab the employer’s attention straight away by letting them know what you can do, what you are qualified to do, and what you can do for the company
- State why you are interested in the job and the company
- Identify your most relevant skills and experience: don’t just replicate your CV
- Apply marketing principles to your cover letter; highlight your competitive edge and use high impact words to draw attention to your skills
- Clear up the specifics. For example, if you’re looking to relocate, state it. Or, if you want to negotiate the salary, make sure to include it
- Include an action to be taken by yourself; state how you plan to follow up and then do so
- Make sure your covering letter is word processed and no longer than an A4 page (ideally 4 paragraphs) – less is more
- Before you deliver / send your covering letter, make sure you haven’t overlooked the basics and proofread
And remember, avoid clichés, contractions, typos and starting too many sentences with “I”. Instead, make yourself the subject of each sentence, use active descriptions, sign your letters, keep it short and simple and most importantly, make each covering letter an example of your best work.