You might find writing endless cover letters a tedious and repetitive business, but there’s no getting round it; it's the first and most important step in snaring a recruiter's attention.
The basic idea is to encourage recruiters and employers to read your CV. Think of it as a teaser to your skills. The recruiter or HR manager is the company's gatekeeper and it's likely they're sifting through a ton of applications every day. You need to stand out from the crowd and grab their attention.
Your cover letter gives you the chance to show off just a little bit. Demonstrate that your skills and abilities are a good match for the role and that you're perfectly capable with the English language. If they like what they read, they'll move on to your CV to get more detailed insights about you.
Always put in a bit of groundwork. Research the company in advance of writing your letter, identifying the technologies they use and the markets they operate in. Your cover letter will be the first contact you have with a prospective recruiter or employer; if you can nudge them in the right direction from the off, getting an interview should be a breeze.
The key stuff:
• Tailor your cover letter for every job you apply for; you can work from a template as long as you remember to change the details every time
• Present it in the usual letter format, keep it short and snappy - but factual
• Include any reference information about where you saw the job advertised
• Refer to the CV you’ve attached to draw the recruiter’s attention to it
• Use key words and phrases from the job description to highlight why you’re right for the role
• Briefly explain why you want the job and why you want to work for that specific company; this is where your research works a treat
• If the job is in a different sector to the one you currently work in, draw similarities and highlight any transferable skills
• Include information about your availability for interview
• It might sound like teaching your granny to suck eggs but check you’ve addressed your letter to the right person, used the correct job title and spelt their name correctly!
• Don’t mention salary (yes, we said DON’T mention salary)
Never underestimate the power of a good cover letter. It can mean getting your CV past the temp they’ve got skim reading all the applications...