02 November 2016
Zenrecs tips on creating the perfect Covering letter to bag that perfect job!
Ok, so I maybe stating the obvious here, but you will be surprised at just how many recruiters can be swayed by a really good covering letter.
As I mentioned in the opening paragraph, you have to do everything in your power to gain an advantage over your competition. Demonstrate that you are serious about the vacancy you have applied and that you have took the time to write a ‘bespoke’ covering letter.
Sending one puts you at a huge advantage over those who haven’t. It shows that you’ve taken the time to consider the role versus someone that simply fires off CVs to every online job, and it actually proves to the recruiter that you’re bothered about that job.
A big no-no with covering letters is to use the same content from one letter to another. You must avoid a simple copy and paste exercise.
I understand that this can be really tempting when you are applying for positions through several job boards, but if a generalised letter is the best you can do, then you may as well not bother in the first place.
It is vital that you address the covering letter to the specific person who is looking after the vacancy. Always include the job reference and job title of the vacancy and make sure you tailor your letter to the company and the vacancy you are applying for.
Treat the advert that you’re applying to almost like an exam question. It will outline exactly what they’re looking for in an ideal candidate.
Personalise your covering letter to show how you did whatever the advert asks that you’ve done. You may want to emphasise some career history and key achievements that relate to the job you have applied for, but remember that a covering letter should be punchy and not long-winded. If you do not tailor your CV for every application, this is especially important.
Right, the meaty part! I’ve listed some bullet points below. Follow these guidelines and your covering letter should make the desired impact:
- 1st Paragraph: Kick off the covering letter by stating why you are writing, including the position and where you saw it advertised.
- 2nd Paragraph: Explain what interests you about the vacancy.
- 3rd Paragraph: Describe why you would be asset to the business, explaining your strengths, skills and why your experience and previous achievements would marry up perfectly to the opportunity.
- 4th Paragraph: Refer the reader to your enclosed CV for further information.
Don’t be bashful when it comes to selling your achievements and work history.
Pick out a couple of relevant examples to the opportunity, even if these examples are on your CV and make sure you explain the relevance of these to give them maximum impact.
Recruiters love stats and numbers. So if you hit 215% of your sales target, or if you increased efficiencies for the business by 67.8%, shout about it. Put the key numbers in bold if they’re particularly impressive.
You will have (hopefully) researched the business as part of your preparation, and this should give you the ideal opportunity to include something in your covering letter which explains why you are interested in the organisation and the position.
Avoid generalisations and instead write specifically about why the products or services the company has to offer have impressed you.
I appreciate there’s a bit more work in this, but if you do it you’ll really impress the recruiter.
The covering letter should illustrate how interested and enthusiastic you are to grab the vacancy. Therefore, try and avoid any negative comments and pack the covering letter with dynamic, acting verbs for each skill you are explaining:
- Research – analysed, clarified
- People skills – collaborated, communicated
- Teaching – instilled, motivated
Consider why you are perfect candidate for the role. What makes you worth considering? Why do you consider yourself to be better than every other person that’s applying for the same role?
Make sure you emphasise your positive assets such as education, skills, accomplishments and how all of these relate to the position you have applied for.
As you finish your covering letter, make sure you finish with a specific statement of just what your next step will be.