Cover letters, which are attached to the front of resumes and CVs, are essential for making a positive first impression. Many employers will filter job applications based on cover letters, and also use them to find contact details quickly.
A cover letter can make or break an application. And for most people, a few simple tweaks can lift their cover letters miles above the competition. Recruitment managers are used to rambling blocks of text that leave out essential information – which creates a huge opportunity for those that get it right.
Here’s a straightforward, practical checklist that will give your cover letter that extra shine.
1. Include Contact Information at the Top of The Page
Cover letters should follow a standard letter format. You should address it to the recipient (along with the company address) and include your name, physical address, and contact details like your email and mobile number in the top left or right-hand corner.
Many employers will use your cover letter to find contact information when they want to get in touch, so make it easy to find.
2. Use a Pre-Written Template
Ever been told that you should always write a cover letter from scratch? We think that’s pretty bad advice. Why wouldn’t you use a professionally-written template as a reference point?
The key phrase here is as a reference point. Use a template to inform your structure and tone, and to ensure you haven’t left any essential pieces of information out.
3. Use Bullet Points
Employers aren’t going to treat your cover letter like a piece of literary fiction. Instead, they’re more likely to scan it.
Enable recipients to pinpoint essential information, particularly past experience and qualifications, by using bullet points. You should also opt for two and three-line paragraphs to increase readability.
4. Focus on the benefits you can provide
Focus on the experience and qualifications that demonstrate direct value to your employer. If possible, talk about specific results that you have delivered in the past.
You should also communicate your knowledge of the company when talking about what you have to offer. By highlighting your experience as it relates to the recipient’s organization, you are showing that you have done your research.
1. Don’t Let Any Grammatical Errors Sneak In
If there’s one thing that can kill a job application faster than a speeding bullet, it’s grammatical sloppiness. Avoid grammatical mistakes by thoroughly proofreading your cover letter before sending it. Many recipients will put a cover letter with just one grammatical error straight into the bin.
2. Don’t Write a Novel
Assume that the person responsible for filtering applications is short on time and wants to find necessary information as quickly as possible. Make a list of the most essential and persuasive points prior to writing and focus on them.
Break up your content into short paragraphs so that readers aren’t faced with an impenetrable wall of text, use a medium-sized font and, as mentioned before, use bullet points if possible.
3. Don’t Try to Be Informal
Here’s a straightforward tip: don’t try to be friends with the recipient. Keep things professional. Many applicants try to endear themselves to recipients by being informal. But this is always a mistake. A casual tone communicates unprofessionalism and a tendency towards over-familiarity.
4. Don’t Make it All About You
This might sound a little paradoxical. It’s your cover letter, right?
Yes, your experience is important. But this experience needs to be outlined in the context of how it benefits the goals and mission of the potential employer.
Describe ways in which past employers are similar to the one you are applying to, highlight personal qualities which fit with the company’s values, and focus on qualifications that are directly relevant to the role you are seeking to fill.
Cultivate Your Talent at EU Business School
If you’re eager to build a career in the business sector, you’ll need to draw on a wide range of abilities and experience to ensure your own and your employer’s success.
A degree from EU Business School will provide you with a solid foundation of business and entrepreneurial skills, along with hands-on industry-relevant experience.