When it comes to job applications, often candidates are confident that their CV is the focal point, but a strong covering letter could give you the competitive edge and even a job offer. We’ve provided tips to boost your covering letter but here’s five common mistakes and how to fix them:
Avoiding work history gaps
If your CV has employment gaps, your covering letter will give you the opportunity to explain why. Whether you’ve been travelling for a couple of months, volunteering or taking time off to assess your next career move – it’s important to be honest and address any work history gaps in a positive way.
Adding too many soft skills
Too often the bulk of a covering letter can be made up of generic soft skills, such as being ‘driven’ and ‘reliable’. Employers want you to delve into specific job-related skills, so instead explain how your hard skills, achievements and experiences, are significant in relation to the company to set yourself apart.
Missing a covering letter altogether
If it’s not specified, it can be tricky to decide whether you should submit a covering letter. Unless a recruiter or company has specifically stated otherwise, we advise you should always attach a covering letter with your CV. It not only shows initiative, but it also offers additional context to your CV.
Writing too much
When it comes to your covering letter less is more. Recruiters are busy and could be handling hundreds of applications for one role, so keeping it short will make it easier for them to read and in turn increase the chances that it is actually read.
Using a generic template
A ‘cut and paste’ job is very obvious to recruiters, even if you have switched out the job title and company name. We’ve talked about customising your covering letter but adding a personal touch goes a long way. For example, look up the hiring manager on LinkedIn and if you have anything in common and can add it effortlessly to your covering letter – do it!
Still need a hand with your CV or covering letter? Our consultants are offering bespoke sessions to aid our candidates in their job search. If you need a hand, give your local branch a call.