Today’s market is very competitive when it comes to job searching. With so many, well educated, experienced, and appropriately skilled candidates, it really is an employer’s dream. For the jobseeker however, it can be a stressful and difficult time. Gone are the days where sending off your CV would be enough to get you in for an interview, with hiring managers seeing so many applications, you need to make yours stand out. That’s where your cover letter comes in, a now mandatory addition to any job application, and your chance to impress your potential employer.

What is a cover letter?

 A cover letter is a short, accompanying document that you should attach with your CV to any job application. In this letter you have to sell yourself to the employer, tell them why they should hire you over the numerous equally, or more qualified alternatives. This is your chance to shine, to stand out from the crowd of other applicants, so you need to make it count.

Cover letter tips

When writing your cover letter don’t just repeat the content of your CV. The person reading it has seen that already, this is your chance to show them something else. Of course you can mention your experience in the cover letter, but approach it from a position of explaining how that experience relates to, and could prove useful in the position you are applying for currently.

Regarding your cover letter format, don’t be overly formal. Try to identify the hiring manager you are sending the application to, and address them by name rather than ‘Sir/Madam’. You don’t want to come across rigid in your writing, so try to make your personality come through in your cover letter. Explain why you want to work for the company, if you have a story to tell do it, it will show your passion not just for the role, but the company as a whole.

The aim of your cover letter is to sell yourself to the employer. To do this you need to focus on explaining what you can do for the company. Using your past experience, skillset, and understanding of the industry, or indeed the company itself, explain what you could do that would propel the company forward. Don’t identify any lack of skills that you have regarding the position, instead focus on your strengths, and what the skills you have can bring to the table. Maybe you could comment on a campaign that the company has undertaken recently, and ideas you have that could improve it, to help produce a better result. Or you could pitch an entirely different initiative that you think is in line with the company’s image, and would help increase their exposure, revenue, or other important metrics.

Cover Letter Examples

Here’s a small cover letter sample you should avoid emulating;

Dear Sir/Madam,

I would very much like to be considered for the role of ‘X’ with ‘Company Y’ as advertised on ‘Z’, to this extent, please find enclosed my CV for your consideration.

With various past experience in ‘A’, ‘B’, and ‘C’, I believe that I would be the ideal candidate for this position. Although I may lack knowledge and experience in ‘X’, I am willing to learn, and believe my skills in ‘Y’ more than compensate for it.

I am very excited about this position, and look forward to hearing back from you.

The issues with this cover letter sample are:

  • Overly formal, lack of research to personalise for the recipient
  • Textbook, uninteresting opening, lacking personality
  • Draws attention to lack of skills
  • Doesn’t explain what they can offer the company

Alternatively the sample cover letter below sounds much more appealing;

Dear Mr Smith,

I was very excited to see that a position had opened up with ‘Company X’ in the ‘Y’ department, and couldn’t wait to apply for the opportunity.

I’ve been following ‘Company X’ with a passion for many years, ever since ‘My Amazing Experience’, and would love the opportunity to help continue your tradition of ‘Z’. During my time with ‘Company Y’ I was heavily involved in ‘Campaign X’, the aim of which was to increase the company’s ‘A’, and ‘B’, which resulted in ‘Positive Impact’. I noticed that you have recently launched a campaign with a similar target, and believe that I have many ideas that could help lead this to success. For example, if the campaign also included ‘A’, ‘B’, and ‘C’, I believe that this would be very beneficial for the company.

 I honestly can’t think of a company I’d rather work for, so I hope I get the opportunity to show you what I can bring to the table, and how I can help ‘Company X’ move forward in future.

This cover letter is much more appealing, filled with personality, with a clear explanation of what the candidate has to offer the company, and much more likely to result in an interview.

Follow these cover letter tips and you should be well on you way to landing that interview with your dream company.

Posted by Alexander Goodenough

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