A cover letter is your first chance to impress an employer.
It’s your shot at showing what makes you great and for a lot of jobs it’s a necessity.
Now, we’ve already discussed the importance of them but how do you go about writing one that makes you sparkle and will convince the employer to progress you through to the next stage?
We’ve put together four steps to writing a cover letter that makes you stand out.
Do your research on the job you'll be applying for
Before you write a word, sit down in front of a computer and do some research on the company you will be applying to. Find out as much as you can.
You might need to know who the owner is, where the business sits in the market, who the company’s competitors are.
What you need to know will change for the job you are going for but make sure you know all the basics and more.
Next you need to research the job you're applying for. When you're writing a cover letter that makes you stand out you have to know exactly what the company is looking for.
The more you know the more you can tailor your cover letter to suit, making you look like the perfect candidate.
Find out who will be reading your cover letter
The person reading your cover letter and CV is the person you need to impress so you will need to start off well. Personalise the letter by finding out their name and directing your literature at them.
You don’t need to be a trained detective to get hold of the information. Start off by looking on the company’s website. It could be that their name is listed on that, in which case your job’s done.
If not, check social media such as LinkedIn or the business’ Facebook page. Alternatively, use an online search engine. If all else fails call up the company and ask.
Get your words down on paper
Now's your time to shine. In your opening paragraph, let the reader know the position you are applying for.
If you were told about the role by a contact in the company you may want to drop their name here or if you found it online you could mention the website.
Then, in the second paragraph, you want to tell the reader what makes you stand out from the crowd. Remember all that research you did earlier? Here’s where the full benefit is felt.
If they're looking for someone with a great sales record tell them about your great sales record. But don’t leave it there – back it up with some figures.
If you sold twice as much as the rest of the company combined then let the reader know. If you won salesperson of the year then it's worth mentioning.
In the third and final paragraph be brave and explain why you're the person for the job.
Check and double-check everything to make sure it's error free
After all your hard work researching and writing your cover letter it would be heart-breaking to be turned down because of a typo. Everyone makes them - it’s just some people don’t let you know they’ve made them.
Go back over your cover letter as many times as you can stand and make sure there are no spelling, grammar or factual errors anywhere.
Not much will jar the reader more than spelling the company’s or the reader’s name wrong. Copy and paste every name or company title into a search engine and triple-check you haven’t misspelt it. That goes for the job title as well.
You will also need to check that the document is formatted correctly. Are the addresses in the correct place? Have you left the same sized gap between each paragraph?
Finally, let someone else read over it. If you have a friend who is a whizz in the English language give it to them for a final read over.
Writing a cover letter that makes you stand out: A summary
Accuracy is key when you're writing a cover letter. Get something wrong and you'll stand out for the wrong reasons.
However, if you follow these four steps you will stand out for all the right reasons and give yourself every chance of moving on to the next stage.
SELECTED PARTNER OF:
Mike, Shrewsbury You have great customer service, Thank you for the killer CV and the friendly 24/7 support line. #TopOfTheLeague.