Opinion

6 Simple steps to writing the ultimate cover letter

So you’ve spotted the perfect job vacancy. You can bet that other job seekers have also seen it – especially if they’re signed up to the same recruitment agency. Without further ado, you need to get down to writing a cover letter that’ll get you onto that all-important interview shortlist.

The letter is the first opportunity you get to persuade the employer that you’re the right person for the job. But creating a letter that’s eye-catching and formal isn’t easy. As we all know there’s stiff competition for vacancies these days, but by reading these simple tips you’ll be able to craft a persuasive application:

1.    Tailor the letter

Don’t be tempted to copy and paste. The employer will spot a generic response from a mile off and will know immediately that you’re not putting in the required effort- as a result, your application may be left to one side in favour of more professionally written letters. Do your research and make it clear in the letter that you’re familiar with the company; explaining why you’d like to work there is a good way of demonstrating that you’ve done your homework.

2.    Back up your experience

When writing a winning letter, it’s important to appeal to the reader, or in this case, the recruiter. They want to be convinced you can do the job so when explaining why your experience is relevant, include examples from your other roles as evidence. If you’re applying for an office support job in Cambridge, Chelmsford, Ipswich or Norwich, refer to past achievements that demonstrate the duties listed in the job description.

 3.    Point out the benefits

It’s important to highlight the benefits that your experience will bring to the company. When you outline your skills, explain the value they’ll bring to the firm. For example, when writing about your excellent management skills, point out that this means your projects will run on time and to budget, which enhances the company’s reputation among its customers.

4.    Be passionate

Although the letter is a professional document there’s no harm in being passionate. After all, wouldn’t you prefer to interview someone who seems excited about the job? But don’t overdo it. Exclamation marks in emails to friends are fine but in this context they can seem rather desperate. Obviously, this isn’t the feeling you want to communicate, so play it safe and stick to a more low-key enthusiasm.

 5.    Signing off

When closing the letter include a line that reflects your interest. A simple sentence such as “Thank you for taking the time to consider my application and I hope to have the opportunity to work for you” will let the employer know that you’re polite, professional and keen.

 6.    Read…and read again

If you submit a cover letter that’s peppered with errors it won’t be taken seriously. Because an employer wants to see that you’ve put time into the application, make sure you’ve checked it a few times before sending it. Another pair of eyes can give you a fresh perspective, so ask someone else to read the letter. An additional trick is reading it out loud to yourself – it’s surprising what little mistakes you might pick up on.

A corker of a cover letter could take a little time but it might just be worth it when you’re popping open the champagne at news of a job offer. So, it’s time to focus….happy writing!