When hunting for any job, placement or internship, your cover letter is key in grabbing an employer’s attention and convincing them to interview you. Here are a few tips to make sure you are giving yourself the best chance of getting a good response with your cover letter.
Tailor it to the Job Specification
Read through the job specification carefully and make sure you address each point. Make a bullet point list of what they’re looking for, if they haven’t already. Make it very clear in your letter how you fit all their ‘necessary’ criteria and explain which of their ‘preferred’ boxes you also tick.
Don’t Repeat your CV
You should have already tailored your CV to the job application, so don’t just repeat what you’ve said there in a rambling format. Explain how the content on your CV makes you suitable for this specific role. So, don’t just say ‘my role at [insert job] helped me gain an understanding of [insert skill]’ – you need to say how and why!
Add a Personal Touch
Let the company know why you want to work specifically for them. If their company ethos and values align with your own, or if you have a personal reason for wanting this role, then do let them know – but keep it simple. This is the kind of thing you can expand on at interview stage.
If you can address your cover letter to a person, rather than ‘to whom it may concern,’ then that’s also great. Don’t stress, but if a name is given in the advert or contact details, then use it!
Some companies will have hundreds of applications to one job role. For some, their first stage in the filtering process is to scan for spelling mistakes and errors. Don’t exclude yourself before they even get to read about how great you are! Proof-read for spelling and grammar, or get someone else to check it over if you can.
Keep it Concise
As we’ve said, employers may have to read through a huge number of applications, so don’t be temped to make your cover letter too long. Keep it concise and whoever is reading will thank you for it. There is no fixed rule as to how long it should be, but make sure you abide by any regulations the company may set out. Some adverts will ask for no more than one A4 side, and that will be more than enough in most cases.
You can keep the length of your cover letter to a minimum by adding more detail to your CV – so make sure that both compliment one another and work together to ensure you get a good response from potential employers.