Do's & Dont's for an awesome cover letter to get you to interview.
Do's and dont's for an awesome cover letter.
They're about as much fun as writing your UCAS personal statement. Being asked to write a few paragraphs about yourself and why you're, essentially, really great at your job is quite possibly a Brit's worst nightmare - we are terrible at talking about ourselves.
However, 'Please find enclosed my CV', really won't get you very far.
A cover letter is an important part of any application, and you should take some time to write, and most importantly, tailor each one to the company and the role you are applying for. It's quite often the first impression your potential employer will get of you, so you need to ensure it's a pretty good one.
So, if you've sat down to write one and are feeling stuck, here are a few do's and dont's to writing a fab cover letter - if we do say so ourselves!
Do include one anyway.
Some employers or job postings may not require a cover letter as an essential part of the application, however, it may be a good idea to send one anyway. Not only will it give you the chance to showcase your skills more, it will show that you have put some extra effort into your application… which can only be a positive note on your application notes.
Do your research.
Make sure you know who the hiring manager is and address your cover letter to them. It's more personal and shows that you have taken the time to really look into the role, the company and who you're going to be speaking to.
Take this as an opportunity to showcase your knowledge about the company and the business, detail what drives your passion to work in this particular industry and explain what makes their business so fabulous that it's the only place you want to work.
Do edit & proofread.
I'm not going to dwell on this one too much as it's a pretty obvious one, but as mentioned, your cover letter is often the first impression that the hiring manager will get of you, so you need to make sure it's a good one.
It may sound silly, but make sure you have the correct employer, company names and job title, with the correct spellings. If you're writing a few cover letters at once, these can be easy things to get mixed up or incorrect.
Look for small typos and missing words that you may miss if you've been writing it for a while, and it's probably a good idea to get a someone to read it over to get a fresh pair of eyes on it - they're probably more likely to spot these small errors than you are.
Your cover letter should be sent along with your CV to provide additional information on your skill set and experiences. It should complement your CV or resume, not duplicate it. So, don't just repeat everything that you already have on your CV, otherwise there'll be no benefit.
Don't talk about you 'personally'.
This is not the time to talk about you, your personality traits, family background or interests. The interviewer will be able to get to know all of these things and more at the interview stage, but for now, all you need to focus on is letting them know that you have all of the right skills and experiences to get you the job.
Don't mention salary.
Personally, I don't think salary negotiations or discussions should start until interview number 2. Some employers do ask for your 'salary expectations' at the very start of the application process as a way to measure whether you'll both be wasting each others time. So, if they've accepted this and moved forward with your application, you're probably both in the same ball-park anyway.
Don't waffle on.
Yes, there's quite a lot of important information that you need to include in your cover letter, but it needs to be concise at the same time. A cover letter that is too long probably won't get read. If it's a popular job role the hiring manager may get sent ~a lot~ of letters, so you need to make sure yours is straight to the point and gets their attention.
Dear, (hiring manager's name)
Detail which role you are applying for - make sure to use to correct job title and match it to the job posting. Why are you qualified for this job? Include your relevant skills & examples here.
What do you have to offer? What can you bring to this company and this particular role to stand out?
Why do want to work for this business?
Thank you for your time and consideration.