Top ten tips on the perfect Cover Letter

You may have

1.Get the look right

One page only, ideally 3-4 paragraphs Use traditional header, date and addressee formula – make sure you are using salutations correctly eg Dear Mr Smith… Yours sincerely, Dear Sir…Yours faithfully. Check carefully not only the title of the post you are applying for but the spelling of the company name and the name of the person you are writing to.

2.Get to the point straight away – position yourself, and your expertise upfront

State clearly who you are, what you want, who you know. Your initial paragraph should introduce you and explain the opportunity you are looking for. You should also include here any contacts you have within the firm you are applying to.

3.Link the letter to the reader’s needs and not your own

Each and every cover letter you write should be tailored to that particular role and company. You

need to highlight: that you understand what the role requires, you can demonstrate how you have the skills/experience that match, and provide examples to prove these

4.Research, research, research

You need to be as specific as possible to show that you really know how to differentiate the company. Try to avoid generic statements that could be true of any company. The more you research, the more powerful your cover letter will be.

5.Get personal!

Make your statements personal to you. So don’t just state facts – outline why they are important in informing your career choice. Focus on what differentiates the organisation/role and again link this with your key skills, expertise and networks

6.Don’t forget to close

Your closing paragraph should outline what will happen next, what is attached or enclosed and thank the reader for their time

7.Keep it positive

Avoid negative statements of any kind within the letter – the recipient will note with interest if you declare you don’t like making presentations/have a problem working within a team/struggle with report writing and will probably then dismiss your application outright without reading on

8.Never lie

Hand in hand with keeping things positive, remember not to embellish statements to the point where they become untrue. Lying in order to obtain a position is a sackable offence; quite apart from the fact that if you have to pretend to be someone else just to get an interview will you want to live your working life pretending?

9.Spell check carefully and then re-read the letter

Try to imagine that you are the recruiter/recipient of the letter. Would you be invited to an

interview? If you can substitute another company name for the one in the letter and the letter still reads the same – go back and start again!

10. Don’t use quotes

Most companies want to hear what you have to say, not a famous dead man or a 17th century poet. Once again, keep it personal!

It’s a lot to take in, but we hope it helps. Read it through, because there’s a lot of useful stuff here!

For more information, go to ‘how to write the perfect cover letter’


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