A cover letter not only is an opportunity to write a good sales pitch for yourself it is also a method of introducing yourself and letting the reader know what you have done and where you are planning to go in the future.
Consequently if you are submitting your CV to an organization on a speculative basis or to a recruitment agency they would be somewhat confused as to what your purpose was without an adequate explanation via a cover letter.
A covering letter is your best method of:
- Telling a potential employer about your knowledge and interest in their company
- It is your platform to emphasize your unique capabilities and personality
- A covering letter gives you the opportunity to reveal information about yourself that may not easily fit into any specific part of your CV
A covering letter is your Sales pitch
Your covering letter is your sales pitch to a potential employer or employment agency it is like placing an Advert about yourself or Marketing you and your skills successfully.
There are many methods used to achieve this which include:
- Tell the reader in as few words as possible the relevant skills and expertise you have
- Try to come up with innovative ways of doing this, specific examples are usually best as they are original to you.
- Make sure everything in the letter is relevant
- Be sincere and do not use grandiose padding that they will see through
- The overall tone of your letter should match up well with your content
- Try to make it somewhat personal
- You should if possible try to get the reader to empathize with you
Always try to ascertain the readers name either through the company website, the Job Advert or by phoning the company. This will seem more personal than just Dear Sir/Madam.
Read up on the company’s news in relation to new products, marketing campaigns or services, weave some of these facts into your letter. Try to give them reasons why you have picked their company as opposed to others. Tell them you understand their brand emphasis or their customer care policies.
Remember the key objective of the cover letter is to secure an interview or at least a response.
Tips to getting a response to your letter
- Always try to initiate a response even if it is just by using a phrase such as, “I look forward to hearing from you in due course.” This gives the impression you are expecting some form of reply.
- You should emphasize at least one strong attribute about yourself e.g. your qualifications, your experience or your drive and ambition.
- Make reference to certain sections of your CV that you think will be particularly relevant.
- If there any areas of your CV that could do with being elaborated further on then now is your chance a very good example of this would have been the year you took a career break to work your way around the world, tell them why you did it and what you learned so they won’t see it as a weak point when they read your CV.