I know, I know, this is the part of the job application process we all despise. Putting the CV together is ok, because it does not require any sort of writing prowess, but rather just the ability to put down facts about oneself. The covering letter on the other hand is the ‘voice’ of the CV, the sales letter. The covering letter therefore requires much more thought and careful planning. You will need to not only engage the reader, but also keep their attention. It is your opportunity to bring your CV to life. The covering letter also allows you to target what is most important to the employer – themselves and their organization. Remember the covering letter is not about you, its about them.
Here are the 5 crucial steps to create an excellent covering letter:
If you can’t find out the recipients name, then don’t’ write a cover letter. Use whatever guerrilla tactics it takes to get the name of the person who will be doing the hiring for the position
2. An opening paragraph with chutzpa!
Your opening paragraph must grab their attention. Take yourself out of the comfort zone and write something this
3. The what-I-can-do-for-you paragraph
Do your research, and find out exactly what kind of skill-set the employer is looking for. Along with this, also find out what sort of challenges the company is presently facing. Now present solutions to both of these in the form of you and your expertise. Example here
4. The call-to-action paragraph
This paragraph consolidates what you have written above, and also takes a more holistic view of your overall experience. It must be written in a way which encourages the employer to go on and read your CV
5. The extra-mile conclusion
In addition to ending with the usual pleasantries, you should also mention that you will contact them at a particular time on a particular day. If this is not convenient for them, then they could email/phone you to reschedule. Being proactive like this is important because it shows you are able to use your initiative and you hungry for the job.
For a great book on Cover Letters, check out: Brilliant Cover Letters, by James Innes
Do you have hot tips when it comes to writing a covering letter? Please feel free to share them below