Include a tailored cover letter with every job application
Job applications can be stressful, and it’s often difficult to decide what you should or shouldn’t include in your application. But suppose you want to prove to a new employer that you’re the ideal applicant. In that case, it is good to include a cover letter and an absolute must if the job description or advertisement requires one.
Your cover letter is the first important step towards being offered an interview. In fact, some prospective employers will refuse to accept your resume if it does not come with a cover letter.
Your cover letter is crucial because it allows you to introduce yourself, show your personality and give an excellent first impression. Think of it this way: you wouldn’t walk into a party or gathering, approach someone and just start rambling at them about your life, would you? No. You’d shake hands, introduce yourself, find out a bit about them and carry on from there.
Your cover letter can be the deciding factor in whether your resume is even considered for a review. Take the time to carefully craft your cover letter to show the hiring manager who you are and why you’re the candidate they’ve been looking for. It’s not as daunting as you think. Read on to find out why.
The most important thing is that your cover letter is easy to read. Don’t try to fill the page with a description of everything in your resume. That’s not the role of a cover letter. This is your chance to show what you will bring to the position adding to your strengths and experience found in your resume.
Avoid fancy fonts and colours, as this makes it difficult to read. This is a professional document, so make sure it looks like it. Aim for short and sweet, give the facts, and if they want more, they’ll find it on your resume.
Don’t sell yourself short
While your resume will do a lot of your talking for you, you can use your cover letter to your advantage and let the reader know just how good you are. It should take some of the raw data from your resume and explain how it applies to the position. Highlight the qualifications, skills and experience you have that are most relevant to the role and take the opportunity to make a case for why you’re a good match.
Rather than saying you “lead the sales team”, for example, tell them about the change you introduced that helped your team increase revenue and by how much. Be specific about what you brought to your last role and keep it relevant to the position you are applying for.
Remember, however, that this is a cover letter and not the resume, so keep it simple.
Use a tailored cover letter for every job application. Highlight the parts of your resume most appropriate to the job by giving specific evidence showing you are suitable for the role. Generic cover letters are a good way to show how lazy you are or how little you care about winning the position.
Pay attention to the details of the job listing:
Most companies will have an online profile. Find their profile, identify what’s relevant to the role and target this in your letter.
Keep it short and punchy
Keep it brief! They may have hundreds of applications to work through. It’s not cost-effective for them to read long and detailed cover letters, especially if the letter doesn’t show you’ll be a good fit for the role.
Include a “Call to Action”
Make the most use of your final paragraph by including a call to action. Different closing sentences will suit different situations. You may want to use it to tell them why you’d like to work with them, why you feel passionate about the role, or why you’d be the best candidate for it. Be sure to spend time crafting the perfect closer.
Take the time to review your cover letter
Before you finalise your cover letter, it’s a good idea to have someone you trust look over it. Your cover letter needs to be reviewed for any spelling or grammar errors. Apart from not being professional, it shows poor attention to detail.
If you’re not confident in your writing skills (there is an art to writing a good cover letter), speak to one of our Career Consultants at Résumés for Results. They specialise in writing cover letters specific to the position you are applying for.
We specialise in professional resume and CV writing services, cover letter development, interview coaching, career coaching and job search advice across Australia, including all capital cities and regional areas. Our professional resume writers and career consultants bring years of experience to the table, with a full range of career services available. Résumés for Results are here to assist you to succeed.