So you've finally found that perfect role that you've been searching for, and you've decided to apply for it. You've updated your resume with your work experience and personal details, and now you're ready to start writing the perfect cover letter for your application.
So what content do you include in your cover letter? To whom do you address it? Recently, I advertised a senior role on various job boards, and a significant number of applicants applied for the position. As I was going through the list and reviewing the responses, I came across an application that had a cover letter attached.
The cover letter was three paragraphs long, and by the time I reached the third line of the first paragraph, I was losing interest. After reading the cover letter further and then through the resume, it turned out that this applicant actually had the relevant requirements and background required and was eventually shortlisted for the position. Happy days!
So if this candidate was suitable for this role, why was I contemplating rejecting their application based on the first three lines of the cover letter? When you're applying for a senior position requiring a wealth of experience and qualifications, is it really relevant to start your cover letter with the courses you completed in high school? Is it worth mentioning you worked at McDonald's while studying part time, in the first paragraph?
Of course, if you are entering the workforce for the first time, then these are terrific details for you to include in your letter, and you should. When writing a cover letter you need to be succinct and consider the reasons why you may be the right candidate for the particular role advertised. Keep in mind that competition is fierce and you'll need your letter to make an impact and stand out from the other applications. So, some tips you may consider are:
- Address the letter to the recruiter or agency specifically.
- Specify the role for which you are applying.
- State the reason why you would be the perfect candidate for this position.
- Always check your spelling and grammar.
A cover letter shouldn't be a lengthy portfolio about the significant details and events in your life but an introduction summarising your experience and background relevant to that particular role. Writing the perfect cover letter can differentiate you from the pool of applicants, and serves as the first and a vital step in securing that perfect role.