How to Write the Ultimate Cover Letter – 5 Key Tips
Often overlooked, the cover letter is more valuable than you may think. Job seekers tend to spend a long amount of time putting together a CV, but when it comes to the crunch the cover letter becomes the deciding factor for many hiring managers.
It’s important to note that your cover letter is not a summary of your CV, but an extension to it. This is where you demonstrate what makes you the ideal candidate for the role above others, beyond the details of your CV. It’s your pitch, and it reveals a lot about your personality and how you perform.
In many ways, the cover letter can be more difficult than your CV as it requires critical thought and self-analysis. Here we outline the most important considerations for writing the ultimate cover letter.
Every job is unique, and so too should be your cover letter. Even similar roles within the same industry may have different responsibilities or requirements. Make sure that you have done your research so that this is reflected in your cover letter.
2. Clear Structure
All cover letters must have a clear structure which shows a beginning, middle and end. The body of your cover letter is where you get into the most detail. See below:
Introduction: This must include a grabbing opening line for the hiring manager. Explain why you want the role you are applying for.
Body: Demonstrate your qualifications, skills and experience in detail. These must tie in with your suitability for the job. This is the largest part of the cover letter.
Conclusion: A clear, concise ending which reiterates your strengths. This is where you include a call to action for the hiring manager to contact you.
3. Respond to the Job Description
Your cover letter should be a response to the job ad, using similar words and phrases to show why your qualifications, skills and experience make you the right fit. You may not possess all the necessary skills for the roles, so make sure to highlight related strengths or transferable skills, and show your willingness to upskill in weaker areas.
4. Sell Yourself
Hiring managers can be inundated with CVs. This is why selling yourself through your cover letter is so important. Start by understanding what your USP (Unique Selling Point) is, and use this to explain why you are the best fit.
Try not to focus too much on your educational qualifications. They are important, but your experience and skills are most pertinent in assessing suitability for the role. Consider mentioning specific achievements from previous roles which will show your capability for this one, including some figures where applicable.
5. Review Checklist
Always review your cover letter periodically. Ensure the following:
- Correct spelling and grammar
- Consistent use of font type and size
- A professional appearing email address
- No longer than an A4 page to keep attention
- Eliminate vague sentences; be specific
- Include a call to action (i.e. your contact details)
Now that you’re equipped to produce the ultimate cover letter, you can have a strong advantage when sending any future CVs. With this in mind, click here to see our current listings. Contact us at 021 2066 578 or 051 355 704. Alternatively, email us at [email protected]. We have European reach with offices across six different European countries, so we can find the right job for you anywhere in Europe.
Want to avoid the most common CV mistakes? Read our article about the 8 most common CV mistakes and how to fix them.