Cover letters are often the first impression you give a prospective employer, so don’t underestimate their impact and importance. Here are some guides which should help.
Make it personal.
Generic cover letters are easy to spot and are a good way to put people off – companies want to see that you’re interested in working for them in specifically so the extra effort is well worthwhile.
Know who you’re writing to.
Make sure you address your cover letter to the right person – it’s normally fairly easy to find out where they fit into the business (a quick search on Google may give you the info you need). You may need to change the content of your letter depending on whether you’re writing to an HR/Recruitment Manager or a recruitment agency, rather than a hiring manager.
Match the tone.
Companies will be looking for employees who look and sound like them. A really formal, corporate letter isn’t always the best way to stand out. Sometimes a more informal, chattier approach is more effective – look at the language used in the advert (if appropriate), the copy used on the company’s website etc. to get a better measure of this and look to mirror it.
Put simply, a cover letter should be a brief précis of your background, your relevance to the position/company in question and the reason you’re interested in the role. Keep it short and sweet and relevant.
Start with the reason you’re getting in touch – eg. “I’m writing in response to an advert I saw on your website for….”
Again, keep it brief and punchy and relevant – a couple of sentences will do, for example “I graduated with a degree in [name of course] from [name of university] in [date graduated] and got my first taste of digital marketing during an internship…”
Careful not to oversell yourself here, but make sure you get your point across. This part should be specific to the job you’re applying for. You can highlight specific experience, talk about the relevance of your degree, any training you’ve had or even reading up you’re doing off your own back.
Add a hook. This can be anything which shows that you’ve got a definite interest in the company in particular – this could be specific to something you’ve read in the trade press, related to some work the company has done, related to their mission statement or corporate values. Equally it could be linked to personal interest.
Wrap it up.
Close off in a positive (not desperate) fashion and let them know how best to contact you – eg.”I’d love to discuss my application further – my mobile number is below should you have any questions.”