How to write a compelling cover letter
Director of CV Writers, Neville Rose, on what to include in your all-important cover letter
15 January 2021
A cover letter, in addition to your CV, gives you an opportunity to further tell the recruiter or hiring manager exactly why you should be considered for interview. Not all job applications require a cover letter, but why miss out on a further chance to market your expertise and convince the employer that you have what it takes? Here’s how to do exactly that.
Focus your letter for each application
Some job seekers use the same cover letter for every application. Whilst you may have the core content, the more you can align the letter to the specific requirements of a post, the better the letter will resonate with the reader.
Keep your cover letter short
Just as most recruiters will scan read a CV, the same is true for your cover letter. So, there is little point including lots of detail unless the instructions specifically ask for it. In most cases, you should keep your cover letter to three or four short paragraphs. At the beginning introduce yourself, and then summarise why you are applying for the role.
Pick your two or three most impressive achievements and cite these in the cover letter
Your cover letter should complement your CV
Your CV and cover letter need to act both independently as well as together. Always include examples of achievements in your CV. However, you should pick your two or three most impressive achievements and cite these in the cover letter too.
Presentation and formatting
Ensure your cover letter contains three or four coherent paragraphs where there is a set theme for each paragraph. Address the respondent by name and include a heading at the top with the job title and reference number. It goes without saying that your cover letter should be proof-read carefully.
Call to action
Sign off with a warm and positive message along the lines of ‘I believe I have all the attributes to succeed in this role and would warmly welcome being invited to interview’.
Additional bonus tip
Read the job description and person specification
The job description and person specification tell you exactly what the employer is looking for in experience and expertise. The more your cover letter can cover these points, the better it is going to work for you. Mirror the key terms and phrases to show empathy with the organisation.
CV Writers offers a CV writing service as well as support with LinkedIn profiles, cover letters and career counselling. They provide a free CV review service via their website: www.cv-writers.org.uk