Whether you’re a big lover of composing cover letters or whether you simply view them as a chore, many in charge of HR do actually still rely on them to gauge an applicant’s personality, attention to detail and written communication skills. So it really is important to allocate just as much time and concentration to this core element of your job hunt process.
Here are five key guidelines the team at ROAR believe YOU should consider whilst you compose your eye catching cover letter.
1. Headers on cover letters should reflect that of the job you’ve applied for
If you’re composing your cover letter directly and uniquely within an online actual job application, there’s absolutely no need to include your address or other contact information, as this will more than likely be requested at another stage during the online process. If you’re including your cover letter as an attachment, you can use the same heading as your CV if you wanted to assign uniformity.
2. Greetings aren’t to be overlooked..
If you’re already aware of the HR managers name for this job, then we’d highly recommend that you actually begin your cover letter by addressing them directly (Example: Dear James,).
When constructing your CV, it’s important to avoid weak, uncessary and passive verbs, stay away from business jargon or clichés, and watch out for tired words and phrases. These faulty word choices can undermine the strength and effectiveness of your CV, and ultimately set your application apart from the competition. Instead, make a point of selecting strong action verbs and avoid overusing the same verbs (such as “assisted,” “oversaw,” and “utilised”).
If you don’t know the name of the hiring manager for the role that you’re applying for, you can begin your letter with a simple “Hello,” or “Dear Hiring Manager,”.
It’s important to ensure that you research the company’s culture when deciding how formal your greeting should be. More formal introductions such as “To Whom It May Concern” or “Dear Sir or Madam,” can come across as too stuffy for some organisations, while greetings like “Hey!” and “Hi there,” can almost always be seen as too casual for a cover letter.
3. Avoid the over use of generic references to your abilities
If possible, relay meaningful anecdotes that align with your skills to specific problem-solving tasks or tangible business results you’ve worked on in your career or past university life. Remember, absolutely any applicant can say they hold a desirable skill. To make a lasting impression, you’ll have to demonstrate to hiring managers actual examples of your skills in action. For example:
Too vague: “My experience would be an ideal match for your team.”
More specific: “In my role as a sales executive, I am frequently required to provide and demonstrate an exceptional customer service in difficult circumstances on short notice. I take personal and professional pride in exceeding customers’ expectations to further enhance the companies reputation, and I look forward to developing this skill even further in the future.”
Too vague: “I’m a real team player.”
More specific: “During my current employment role, I headed up the development of an internal charity initiative. I personally assembled a team of enthusiastic volunteers who had all bought into the collective end goal. Together, this team contributed to a 35% increase in charitable donations in comparison to the same quarter of the previous year.”
4. Keep your covering letter short and concise
Unless requested within the job description you’re applying for, there is actually no required length for a cover letter, so focus on the facets that are most crucial for the job. digest the job description carefully to understand the requirements of the job. Recollect examples from your previous employment that fit those requirements, including your proudest professional achievements. Choose one or two and match them directly to the desired experience or qualifications the company you’re applying for are looking for, using just a few detailed but concise sentences. What traits or behaviours has the employer asked for in the job description? Consider using the cover letter itself as a way of really showcasing these traits.
Don’t reiterate and repeat all of the key points that are contained within your CV. You want to focus on one or two anecdotes, expanding on how you achieved something specific.
5. Always proofread before you finally submit
It’s something we’ve been taught since school, but proof reading is some times catastrophically ignored. Ensure you reread your cover letter several times before submitting and keep an eye out for errors of spelling, grammar, or punctuation. Reading the letter aloud can help you pick out awkward phrasing or too-long sentences. Don’t be embarrassed to ask a family member or friend to double-check your cover letter, remember first impressions count and you could argue that the cover letter is the most important part of the application. If your salutation includes the hiring manager’s name, triple-check the spelling.