Behind every CV is a good cover letter (or maybe that should be before every CV!) But why
is a cover letter so important? A cover letter is a short introduction which highlights how
well your skill set aligns with the role. Additionally, it allows you to target the job and the
employer in a specific way, leaving the CV to market your skills, qualities and experience.
Research your employer
- What does the role entail?
- What skills and experience are needed to fill the job?
- What does the company do and what culture do they have?
- Who are their competitors?
- What is their market position?
- Who are their target audience?
- What are their company aims and objectives?
First paragraph – Why are you getting in touch?
State why you’re writing the letter, what the position is that you’re applying for and how
you found out about the position.
Second paragraph – Why are you suitable for the role?
Declare why you’re interested in working for the company, what you can offer the company
and how you can add to their success. Include what attracted you to the job role, as well as
why you’ll fit in with the company culture and their core values.
Third paragraph – What can you do for the organisation?
Show your knowledge of the company and reference relevant experience. If you don’t have
any experience, including your positive attributes – hardworking, punctual, self-motivated,
willing to learn and succeed – goes a long way in a cover letter. Illustrate how your skills
match the specific requirements in the job description. Include any additional strengths and
expand on why they could benefit the company.
Last paragraph – Recap
Round up the letter and re-establish why you’re interested in the role. You can also take this
as an opportunity to mention any dates you are available for a call-back and finish the
paragraph by saying how much you are looking forward to getting a response. Thank them
for taking the time to read your letter and sign off with:
7 tips you’ll need to create the perfect cover letter:
- Don’t re-write your CV - A cover letter shouldn’t repeat your resume in a shorter form.
- Tailor to the organisation - It’s important to re-write your cover letter every time you apply for a position in order to show you’re interested.
- Keep it short and sweet - It should be no more than an A4 page. No one wants to go through that many pages no matter how experienced you are.
- Proofread - Don’t depend on a computer to spellcheck your work.
- Format - Presentation is key, so ensure you’re using the same font and font size throughout your cover letter.
- Identify your USPs - Be confident about what you have to offer and demonstrate why you’re the perfect candidate.
- Include examples - Back up claims in your cover letter with real examples.