Like many job hunters, you probably spend a long time perfecting your cover letter. It’s your chance to show off your qualifications and demonstrate your suitability for the job, so it’s a crucial step in the process. However, you may be surprised at how many applications go unread due to a poorly crafted cover letter. If the recruiter doesn’t like what they read, then all your hard work will go straight into the recycle bin.
Fortunately, writing a fantastic cover letter is a skill that you can learn. With a couple of hours of hard work, you should be able to create something that will grab your recruiter’s attention. All you need are a few simple pointers to give you the best chance of making it through to the interview stage.
Don’t Stray Too Far From a Standard Format
It may seem like a good idea to spice up your cover letter with some fancy fonts, vivid colors, and imaginative layout. After all, you are trying to get noticed, right? While it is true that it will grab attention, it’s almost certainly not going to be in the way you want!
Recruiters usually have several applications to get through, and they like to do it as quickly as possible. Anything unusual detracts from that aim, and if they have to struggle to find the information they want immediately, they are not going to bother. Stick to a standard template with an easy to read serif font, and concentrate on making your content as impressive as possible.
Get Straight to the Point
You should look at the first paragraph as one of the most important parts of your application. It’s the first thing anyone will read, and it is your big chance to make an immediate impression.
In the first few lines, you should communicate your main strengths, and what you can bring to the company. You can go into more detail and give specific examples in the main body of the letter, so keep it brief and concise to encourage the recruiter to continue reading.
Let Your Personality Shine Through
Employers are looking for more than qualifications when they pick a candidate. They need people who will fit effortlessly into their work environment and drive their company forward.
Do your research before you apply for any job, and see what the company ethos is. You can then tailor your letter accordingly. Ensure that you write in a way that lets your personality come to the fore, and make it evident that you will fit in well with the work environment.
Focus on the Company, Not on Yourself
Remember, all a recruiter is interested in is how you will benefit their company. It’s easy to fall into the trap of selling yourself too much, without considering what the business’s requirements are. With every skill you list, you should try to share how you think it will benefit their operations.
Ensure you cover everything in your cover letter that the job offer mentions. If specific skills or qualifications are needed, then include how you think you meet the requirements. Explaining how good a fit you are for the position is a sure-fire way to improve your chances of reaching the interview stage.
Use Appropriate Language For the Industry
During any recruitment process, companies are looking for employees who excel in their field. You can show this by being very specific about your skills in the cover letter and using appropriate, industry-centered language. Remember, the people reading your application will also be experts, so there is no need to dumb anything down.
This isn’t to say you should pack your application with jargon; far from it. But you should use the terms and language you would be expected to use when communicating within your field.
Finish With a Flourish
If your recruiter has made it to the final paragraph, then the chances are they have an interest in you. Take the opportunity to cement your case and make it difficult for them to refuse your application. Be confident in your skills, and end by requesting an interview to leave the best impression you can.
Writing the perfect cover letter is a skill in itself, and it can take time at first to make sure you have covered every base. However, if you take on board the pointers above, you are well on the way to leaving a fantastic impression on your potential employer. Then all you have left to do is ace the interview!