The covering letter that you send for a job application is the most important document that you will send in the first instance for the application of a job position. It is your chance to sell yourself to the employer, to prompt the recruiter to read your CV and to gain an interview.
The role of the cover letter is to draw a clear connection between the job you are seeking and your qualifications listed in the CV. The letter matches the requirements of the job with your qualifications, emphasizing how you are right for that job. It is not a lengthy summary of the CV but should be used to highlight and elaborate on the key points in your CV, which are of particular relevance to the employer. Never ever send out a standardised cover letter!!
There is no strict formula for a cover letter as different jobs may require different approaches. Employers can spot standardised letters that are sent out on mass, so you must tailor every letter to be uniquely relevant to each role you apply for. It is best to make sure that the letter is on a formal footing but also friendly and that you pay attention to your writing style, your spelling and grammar.
Many cover letters tend to be long winded but it is best to try to keep it to 1 side of A4 and to no more than 3 – 4 paragraphs that consist of short, simple sentences.
So, how should you structure the cover letter?
The introduction is the most important; it sets everything up – the tone and focus. Try to provide the reader with a reason to carry on reading your cover letter and make the first paragraph an attention-grabbing one!! It is a good idea to begin by addressing the letter to a particular person if you can get hold of this information. This paragraph should be brief and to the point, indicating which job you are applying for (including a job reference number if there is one) as well as the source of your information (newspaper advertisement, personal contact etc) and an explanation as to why you have applied for this job.
In the main part of the cover letter, you present your work experience, education, training – whatever makes that connection between you and the job you are seeking. Remember that this is the most important job you have to do in this letter – to enable the reader to see the match between your qualifications and the requirements for the job.
It may be a good idea to split the body into two paragraphs with the first focusing on the needs of the company and role requirements. You need to explain why you have applied to them, indicating the main job requirements. This will show you have done research into the company, tailoring the letter to them to be unique. In the following paragraph you need to match these to your skills and abilities, highlighting why you are right for the job and elaborating your achievements. Try to include information not already on your CV, be positive and confident and write it with a bias to the future rather than the past.
In the last paragraph of the cover letter, you can indicate how the prospective employer can get in touch with you and when are the best times for an interview. This is the place to urge that prospective employer to contact you to arrange an interview. It is important to end the letter strongly and on a positive note. End the letter with something like ‘I very much look forward to hearing from you’ and ‘Yours Sincerely’ and finally, don’t forget to sign and print your name! Once you have written your letter, check it several times for any mistakes you may have made and check all the information you have provided them with is correct and accurate. Align the company address to the left side and your address to the right and make sure the paragraphs are justified, the font is the same throughout the letter and on your CV and that it looks neat and tidy!!
If you are not replying to an advertised position, it is more appropriate to write a speculative letter to a company that you would like to work for. The cover letter will therefore be slightly different, it should begin by stating what work you are particularly seeking, say why you want to work for this company and ask for your CV to be kept and to be contacted if any vacancies open.
This advice was written by TipTopJob.com. “We hope this information has been useful. If you require any further advice on CV writing, cover letters, interviews etc please do not hesitate to get in touch with us at marketing@TipTopJob.com. If you are looking for a new job we have over 500,000 live vacancies worldwide across 61 Industry sectors to search and apply for so please check out our website and register at http://www.TipTopJob.com.”