Tell Me About Cover Letters

A cover letter is a short document that complements and accompanies your ‘Curriculum Vitae’ or CV. Its purpose is to introduce you to the reader and encourage them to read your CV. And that’s it! Sounds simple, but a good cover letter can be a vitally important tool in your job quest.

The reason is because it is the very first thing that a recruiter would see about you. It is the document that creates that vital first impression and can begin to make or break the opportunity of getting the role that you have applied for. That is why it is so important.

Components of a Fabulous Cover letter

There are a number of sections that you will want to include in your cover letter if you want to make a positive first impression. They show that you are passionate about working for a great company (just like the one you are applying for), that you have carried out your research on this firm and that you are committed to demonstrating how your skills and experience can benefit the new organisation.

Why Them?

The first thing you should include within a cover letter is your reasons for applying for the job. Why is it that you want to join this company? What it is about them that make them irresistible to you and makes you want to give them the major part of your week – every week – for the foreseeable future?

This needs a little research and so you review what you can find out about their company from their website, any published strategy documents, their CEO’s speeches, etc. This will (hopefully) give you a good idea of where the company is going (or looking to go) and makes it easier for you to demonstrate how your existing skills and experience can help make that happen.

Why You?

Following on from this first section is the part about you. Why are you the ideal candidate for the role? What can you bring that will make a sound and solid contribution to the organisation and that fits in with their plans for the future?

This is where you need to be very selective and pull some key achievements, skills and experience out of your main CV and drop them into your cover letter. These are the key things that you want to say about you and, having researched the company, they need to be ones that are clearly going to be beneficial to the organisation in the future.

Don’t simply reproduce your CV here but highlight the top three to five things that you can bring. Remember, the purpose of the cover letter is to create a fantastic first impression and to encourage the recruiter to read your CV. And that’s it – so ensure you make it enticing.

Other Tips

There are a number of other things you can do that will ‘load the dice in your favour’ and make it probable your CV will get read. It’s obvious (but sadly needs to be repeated) that your cover letter should be clear, concise and easy to read. The numbers that aren’t are amazing and they create a poor first impression from which it can be hard to recover – whatever achievements lay within your CV.

Another tip is to try and find out the name of the person that will be handling your application. It is good manners – but also useful relationship building – to address the cover letter directly to them, rather than be just another application among the many already received.

There are many more techniques you can use so make sure you grab what you need below.

Helpful Resources