Do you know how to create a cover letter that will send you to the top of the shortlist? It can help to think of the job application in business development terms. Your CV is your credentials document – a summary of key achievements, qualifications and skills. It is an opportunity to present the facts and show the employer you meet all the requirements to fulfil the role.
But the cover letter is your pitch. It’s time to show your personality, demonstrate how you can add value to your prospective employer’s business and, ultimately, set yourself apart from the competition.
Attempting to write the perfect cover letter can feel daunting at any point in your career, but don’t worry – we’ve put together this article on how to write a cover letter that stands out from the crowd.
Make It Tailored and Personal
Continuing the business development analogy, you would never recycle or rehash a pitch document for a different business, so why do it with a cover letter? It can be tempting to use a templated cover letter for every role, but in truth, it’s something that hiring managers can spot a mile away.
Instead, you should write a tailored cover letter each time and directly address the job description you’re applying for. It’s okay to include a few generic introductions and personal statements in your cover letter, but your best bet is to focus on what makes you unique. It’s safe to say you’re not the only applicant using the opening line “I’m a creative, dedicated marketing or IT consultant with X many years’ experience in…”
Try to present instantly what your motivations are for applying for this role and why you think you’re a good fit.
The secret to writing the perfect cover letter is usually found in the advertised position description. Before you get started, go through the job ad and highlight any keywords or phrases that leap out at you.
This might include specific qualifications or experience with a particular software or program, or maybe even a soft skill such as negotiation or stakeholder management. Try to pull these words or phrases across into your cover letter while finding ways to relate them directly to your experience. This is by far the most straightforward and effective way to push your application into the shortlisted pile.
Keep It Simple
Brevity is key here because hiring managers can be reviewing dozens if not hundreds of applications for any given role. Make their job easy by structuring your cover letter in a clear, easy to follow format that avoids big blocks of text and verbose sentences.
Think about summarising some elements using bullet points and try to keep the whole letter to one page. Another cover letter tip is to read your first draft out loud to yourself or a friend, then cut back any sections that are difficult to follow.
Pay Attention to Detail
There’s no point talking about your prowess as a communicator if you don’t prove it with your own work. Make sure you proofread your cover letter several times before sending it and consider enlisting a friend to review the final version.
This may sound obvious, but ask any hiring manager and they will have many examples of applications that include the wrong company name and job title. Make sure to double-check all the key information so you don’t get caught out!
Also, don’t forget to verify the spelling of the hiring manager’s name and position. This is the person who will decide if you’re through to the second round, so it’s worth being on their good side. If a name isn’t provided, try doing a bit of research through Google or LinkedIn to find out who is managing the recruitment process so you can address them personally.
Writing a stand-out cover letter is the best way to make a positive first impression on a prospective employer, so getting it right is crucial for landing that all-important interview.
Here at WOW Recruitment, we can help by running you through examples of a good cover letter and will coach you through the whole hiring process to help you secure your ideal job. Chat to one of our recruitment specialists today to get started!