Posted by on February 4, 2013

In the old days before e-mail and automatically applying for jobs online you wouldn’t dream of sending a CV without including a cover letter to introduce yourself to the person you hope will be your next boss. Nowadays though, in our instant success, throw-away world it’s all too much effort to write a cover letter for each and every ‘Apply Here’ button that we click right?

Wrong! – There is no such thing as putting in too much effort when searching for a job! – You want to display that you have the skills, expertise and work ethic that make you the best candidate for the job. By slapping in a generic two liner or by not including a cover letter full stop, all you’ll do is make the recipient think one of three things;

– You’re the same as every other applicant
– You’re not genuinely interested in the job, you’ve just hit the ‘Apply Now’ button along with 25 other jobs
– You’re too lazy to write to them and tell them why they should read your CV.

What should a cover letter be like then?

Well, it should go without saying that it must portray professionalism.

It should be clear, concise, articulate and show that it has been written with this specific job in mind..not written and then sent with every single job application you’ve made since you left Uni!
So, if you know the name of the HR contact/Recruiter/hiring manager then address the letter to them.. say WHY you have applied for the job.. and not just because you believe you ‘have the skills and experience.. blah blah blah.. actually say what drew you to the vacancy.. visit the company
website, use language that reflects theirs in your letter. Refer to their mission statement if they have
one. It shows you’ve made an effort and done some research.. which in itself shows you’re interested.

I guarantee they’ll read your CV..

If there are any special circumstances relating to your application.. i.e it would require you to relocate or you’ve not been working for a long time or it’s a change of direction in your career then address these in the letter. You may think it will put them off but actually if someone receives an application from a candidate who lives 100 miles away or the skills/experience don’t match up, they’re more likely to believe that its been made in error or that the person has not read the advert properly.. they won’t have time to call you and check, and why should they if you’ve not made the effort to explain in your cover letter? And hey, if it does put them off at the application stage then it would have put them off at the interview stage as well, so better to know up front, right?

So there is what to include in your cover letter, what about things to avoid?

Well, if you’ve covered the above then you’re on the right lines but know WHEN to STOP! – I’ve received cover letters that are more like essays or worse just repeats of the CV! – The cover letter should make me want to read the CV not duplicate it or send me to sleep before I even get to it!

So, keep it clear and explain WHY you’re applying. Keep in concise and make the reader WANT to
read your CV..

As for the CV, well it’s the CV’s job to get you the interview so for tips on the click here to download our CV tips.

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