Everyone knows the value of having a good CV, but it’s just as important to write an attention-grabbing cover letter. Get it right, and it will help you to stand out from the crowd, fixing you in the memory of potential future employers. But what makes a good cover letter? We’ve put together a few handy tips, but the common theme is that your letter should show that you’ve done your research into the company and that you’re extremely serious about wanting to work for them.
IDENTIFY THE LETTER’S RECIPIENT BY NAME
If possible, try to avoid kicking off your letter with a generic, anonymous salutation, i.e., “Dear Sir” or “Dear Ma’am.” Instead, do your homework and address it to the appropriate individual – the director of the company, the head of recruitment, or so forth. It may require some digging on the company website to find the name you’re looking for, but it’s well worth the effort, as the more you personalise the letter, the more warmly employers are likely to respond to it.
LOOK FORWAD TO YOUR NEW JOB
There’s a tendency in cover letters to look backward, telling the employer about your past achievements in your current position. Instead, talk about what you will do for them in this exciting new post. Learn as much as you can about the company, think carefully about what they need and paint a verbal picture of how you will fulfil that role.
GIVE RELEVANT EXAMPLES FROM YOUR CV
While you describe the kind of employee you’re going to be, back this up by tying in your past experiences with their future needs. For instance, if you’re a teacher applying to a school, you might indicate your willingness to organize various clubs and extra-curricular activities, pointing out your prior experience in these fields.
A cover letter is also a good place to mention any online presence you might have. Include a short paragraph towards the end of the letter, drawing the employer’s attention to your website or online portfolio, explaining what they can expect to see there in the way of further supporting evidence of your character and achievements.
TAKE CARE WITH PRESENTATION
So far, our focus has been on the content of the letter. However, it’s also important not to overlook the general appearance of the letter, even down to the choice of paper it is written on. The use of high quality paper stock is a simple but effective way of making your cover letter leap out from an overcrowded desk. The same goes for an attractive letterhead, which can add an instant aura of professionalism to a job application. Premium letterheads can easily be ordered online – a worthwhile investment, especially if you’re a freelancer regularly seeking out new employment possibilities.
To sum up, your cover letter should be as much about the company you want to work for as it is about you, showing how together you’re a match made in heaven. Now good luck with your application!