Although writing a cover letter might seem daunting, following a basic step-by-step formula will help you make your cover letter note a worthy build-up to your CV.
Remember that each application should be addressed and tailored to suit the specific job you’re applying for. It’s up to you to make sure you demonstrate you’re the right fit for the right job so be sure that you know the qualities they’re looking for because your cover letter is the perfect place to highlight that. It also shows you’ve done your homework which is always a plus.
It takes a bit of digging bit it’s worth it- Search through your own career history for specific examples of how you can prove you have what it takes to fulfill a particular role.
For example, the advertisement might say: “This position requires an energetic person with demonstrated capacity to work in a high-pressured environment”. The keywords here are “energetic”, “demonstrated” and “high-pressured”. Telling them that you meet these essential criteria will increase your chances of an interview.
Your cover letter should be in line with your CV by highlighting the most relevant aspects in relation to the position but it’s your chance to give it an edge and personalise it.
It may only need to be 250 words but don’t rush writing your cover letter. If you don’t impress with the cover letter you are leaving yourself open to being passed over for the job as another candidate had a well-written cover letter- After all on average recruiters spend 6-8 seconds looking at your CV before they decide whether you are suitable for their vacancy or not- so make a good impression and fast.
Recruit Ireland spoke with Career Consultant Paul Mullen on how to write a cover letter. Here’s what he said, “Cover letters have fallen in value. Most employers will admit they don’t read them or place little value on them. I recommend only sending cover letters when requested. Many job seekers spend hours writing letters, which for the most part is time wasted. Whereas, I guide my clients to a formula that creates an impactful cover letter in 15 minutes.”
Paul’s top cover letter tips
- Keep your letter to one page, 250 words maximum. You should have 3 short paragraphs.
- Don’t start your letter “Please find enclosed a copy of my CV”, that’s how everyone else does it.
- You MUST tell the reader your motivation in the first paragraph – why you want their job OR why you want to work for their company.
- Try to write from the heart, not what you think sounds good.
- I like bullet points in the middle section which sell your suitability. The eye will be drawn to these points.
- Avoid bland content and generic phrases e.g., I am a good team player.
- The final paragraph is a sign-off. For example; I’d love the opportunity to meet in person to highlight how I can add value in this role. I’ll make myself available and work around your schedule. Look forward to chatting soon.
- Don’t be afraid to inject some personality. Remember you are trying to stand out, not just read and sound the same as everything else.
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