How To Write An Effective Cover Letter For Your CV
What is a cover letter and how do I write one that gets my CV notice?
Alright, so you’ve learned from one of our previous posts how to write an effective CV, but without a proper cover letter your CV may go wholly unnoticed. A cover letter will get sent in with your CV and its sole purpose is to be an introduction that should help sell you to any potential employer.
Your cover letter needs to be very concise but also pretty attention grabbing. As we pointed out in the post about writing a good CV, the average person’s attention span is a whopping 8 seconds. Less so if they’re in a hurry or have a lot of CVs and cover letters to bore over.
Cover Letter Basics: 4 Rules To Remember
Your cover letter should not simply be the same as the personal statement that you put on your CV. You want your cover letter to compliment the CV, but not be redundant in doing so.
The ideal cover letter is about 3-5 short, concise paragraphs. If your cover letter takes up more than one sheet of standard size of A4 8.5”x11” paper, you need to trim it down.
If you are sending your CV electronically, as many of us are doing these days, you will want to simply include your cover letter in the body of the email rather than as a separate attachment.
You should include a cover letter for every single job that you apply for. The only exceptions to this rule are for jobs that specifically say “Don’t include a cover letter.”
What Should A Cover Letter Look Like?
Remember, you want to keep it brief, a few paragraphs should do just fine. You’re trying to introduce yourself and emphasize how well of a fit you are for the job you’re applying for.
- Your opening paragraph should explain why you’re writing the letter. Include the position you’re applying for, how you heard about the opening, and when you may be able to start. This is oftentimes the hardest part for many people who have never written a cover letter before. Here’s a quick example of how simple it should be:
“I would like to apply for the position of Network Engineer. I was made aware of this opening from a listing on Jobibo.co.uk and would be able to start immediately. As requested. I am enclosing my CV for consideration”
- The second paragraph should explain what attracted you to this line of work and why you believe you’re suitable for the job. You might also want to include what interest you about working with this company specifically.
- The third paragraph is where you will be able to briefly go over your experience that is relevant to this position and to also go over any skills or strengths you may have that correlate to this specific job’s duties.
- For the closing paragraph you just need to summarize and round up your letter. Briefly remind them how interested you are in this position and let them know that you would love an in-person interview. Don’t forget to close it out by thanking the employer and by letting them know you look forward to their response.
Before You Send Off Your Cover Letter & CV
Employers at many different companies across many industries are going to see a lot of applications coming in regardless of what type of position the opening is for. You need to make sure that your cover letter (in addition to your CV) makes the right kind of impression.
- ●Try to address your cover letter directly to the person it’s being sent to. If you cannot find a specific name then “Dear Sir/Madam” is always a timeless opening.
- ●Rewrite your cover letter for every single job you apply for so that it targets that specific position with that specific company.
- ●PROOFREAD - This one is important! You need to proofread your work. Google Docs, Word, Open Office, none of them will always perfectly catch every little mistake. One grammatical error can mean the difference between your dream job and your backup plan.
- ●Stand out from the crowd by identifying selling points that are unique to you. Michael Jackson was “The King of Pop”. Domino’s Pizza is “Hot & Fresh In 30 Minutes or Less”. What are some of your unique selling points?