Spring has well and truly sprung and while you’re having a general clean up ready for summer, why not take the opportunity to clean up the unsung hero of the job-hunting process – your covering letter! Give some of these a try to change your job search for the better:
Get creative with your intro paragraph
Like an outfit for an interview, if it's unprofessional it sets the precedent for everything that follows. Although your opening paragraph should address the role you're applying for, there are ways to get creative:
- Include: Use descriptive words and phrases to convey your feelings such as ‘delighted’, ‘thrilled’, ‘I am interested’ and ‘I am so excited to hear about’.
- Avoid: Eliminate words from your vocabulary that bore and sound like you’re writing an email – ‘That’, ‘just’, ‘even’, ‘very’, ‘really’.
Never recycle your CV
The words you put together transforms you from 'another file' into a person with a voice. With possibly hundreds of covering letters coming in for one position, be sure to steer clear of a CV copy and paste:
- Use industry references - Sprinkle in some facts around the sector you’re applying to work in and how this has affected you. This will not only separate your letter from your CV but show your expertisie and enthusiasm
- Dedicate to detail - Always expand on a few key skills, abilities and experiences mentioned in your CV and explain how they directly relate to the job description
It’s ok to brag, just a little!
You’re brilliant! Tell yourself that over and over until you believe it and that confidence spills into your covering letter. You have many achievements to be proud of and it’s not a bad thing to shout about them. After all – employers want results and showing the results you’ve produced will only win you brownie points!
- What has been your greatest success and does it relate the job you’re applying for?
- How have you changed things in a former job?
- What positive feedback have you received recently?
- What fantastic skills do you have that could help grow the company you are applying to?
Always do your research
The only way you’ll really get into the mind of the hiring manager is to do some extensive research before you start typing away. You want a good unerstanding of the company’s culture, successes and latest news. Check out these channels to get you started:
- LinkedIn – The hub of business content, LinkedIn is a unique platform that will offer an insight into the company’s portfolio which includes what work they do, how well they do it and why they do it
- Website – The easiest way to find out about a company’s values and the work culture is to take a look at the ‘About Us’ section on their site
- Google search – A simple and effective way of finding out what others are saying about the company and here you’ll find any other information to strengthen your covering letter
Keep it short and sweet
As a rule of thumb, never go over a full page! Start with three paragraphs - your introductory sentence, why you’re good for the role and a wrap up. Cut back on flowery language and never over-write to try and fill the page – sometimes less is more!
- First - Detail what job you are applying for and why
- Second - List your skills and experience
- Third - Directly ask for the opportunity to have an interview to discuss things further