Hot tips for writing a stand-out covering letter!
This is the fourth in a series of articles for young people aged 18-24 starting their careers after leaving full time education. The full series can be found at monarchpersonnel.com.
In our previous article we outlined why a strong CV is essential for making the transition from full time education to work. To accompany your CV, you need a covering letter that leaves a recruiter in no doubt about your credentials and suitability for the role they are advertising.
The cover letter isn’t simply an introduction; “Hi, this is me. Here’s my CV. Enjoy!” The job of a cover letter is to get you through to the interview stage by telling the employer the following:
- Why you want to work for the company
- Why you have applied for the advertised position
- What you can bring to the organisation
- Why you are the perfect candidate for the role
Here are some top tips for writing the covering letter employers will want to read.
Keep it brief
A cover letter is not a licence to be chatty! The employer doesn’t want your life story, they just want to know why you are perfect for the role, so keep it brief and relevant to their requirements.
Tell a story that sets you apart
A covering letter is your opportunity to share background information that makes the employer take notice. Tell them about a unique life experience that will make them remember you amongst a sea of applications.
Highlight a major accomplishment
If you’ve read the job description properly and done your research on the company, you will know the kind of accomplishment that will impress. Write briefly about that accomplishment and explain why you are so proud to have achieved it. This not only gives them something to think about, it also shows your understanding of what they are looking for.
Refer to the job advertisement for your wording
Box clever. Use keywords from the job advertisement in your covering letter to demonstrate your knowledge and understanding of the industry.
Address your letter correctly
Your cover letter must be addressed to the correct person. If a person’s details are on the job advertisement and you don’t use their name, it will be considered lazy and maybe even cause offence.
Research the person you are addressing
Find out some background on your addressee so they are in your mind when writing the letter. This will make it more personal. LinkedIn is the best place to start. Don’t worry about them knowing that you’ve looked at their profile, it can only impress them. Some websites have a team page so you may find further information there.
Write a unique cover letter for each vacancy
It is essential that your covering letter is tailored to the company and role you are applying for, otherwise it won’t be relevant and there will be far less chance of engaging the reader.
With your limited experience it might be tempting to say, “despite my lack of experience” or “while I may be inexperienced in…” This only highlights negatives that probably don’t matter anyway. Instead, focus on transferable skills and relevant experience drawn from other areas of your life.
Look out for the penultimate article in this series, to be published next week, when we will be walking you through the kind of questions to ask in an interview.
In the meantime, if you would like to learn more about Monarch Personnel, you can read our latest articles by subscribing to our newsletter. You can also follow us on our social media channels: LinkedIn, Twitter & Facebook, or visit our website www.monarchpersonnel.com.