If you ask most people they’ll tell you that you should always write a cover letter when you’re applying for a job. But that’s not always true. Entrepreneur and author David Silverman says there are only three instances where you should write a cover letter, they are: when you know the hiring person’s name, when you know something about the job’s requirements, or when someone refers you.
If you’re applying and don’t fall into one of those three categories, it’s probably a good idea to leave the cover letter out. If however, you do, then you’ll need to know the best way to write a cover letter. Often times job seekers will simply recap their CV or get way too personal in their cover letter. Make sure you don’t let that happen, have a read of our guide below to write the best cover letter and make yourself standout.
Make sure you always address your cover letter to a person. Most job adverts will list who the contact is, find the name and address your cover letter to them. If the ad doesn’t have a name listed you can spend a little time to find it. This may work in your favour as the recruiter will see that you’re willing to put in a bit of research. If you can’t find the recruiter anywhere, look up the hiring manager or as a last resort try to find the department head. Whoever it is, it is sure to work better than “to whom it may concern.”
The opening paragraph
Your opening paragraph is an excellent opportunity to show the recruiter that you have done your homework regarding the company. Your research has shown you what makes this company special or unique. Plainly state that you’re excited to work for the company, then go into detail as to why. Maybe the company has become a leader in the Taxi industry due to their innovative app. Whatever it is, talk about it.
You should now take the opportunity to briefly describe some of your most relevant experience; you can also include some of the skills you learned in your career.
You should endeavour to make your paragraphs brief and relevant. Keep to short digestible sentences and ensure the relevant information is clear and easily understood. Stick to the rule more is less, but also make sure you include the vital information.
What to show
If you have a lot of experience it can be difficult deciding what you should show in your cover letter. The best way to decide what you should include. In most cases your current or most relevant experience should be included. However, you need to make sure you give the recruiter enough detail that they will be interested to read your CV, you only have a short time to wow them. Show them in one or two sentences what solutions you can offer, for example: I offer you six years of experience managing logistics for top tier firms. Hook the recruiter in so they’ll read your resume and not just skim it and bin it.
Now it’s time to take a bow and walk off stage. Your closing should be short and sweet. Don’t waffle on with thanks for reading or something similar. Tailor it to you, tell the recruiter that you want the job and you hope to have a chance to speak with them soon. Simple effective, employable.
The key to writing your cover letter is to get the recruiter to read your CV, where you can show them why you’re perfect for the role. Above all, be considerate, a recruiter or hiring manager would probably read hundreds of cover letters every week, keep it concise – try to aim for 100 words. The recruiter will thank you for it, because you’re showing that you respect their time. With this in mind, once you’ve found the perfect opening, sit down and compose your awesome cover letter.
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