A cover letter is an essential part of the process when applying for a job, as this is one of the first parts of an application that an employer will read.
This is why you must ensure that your cover letter makes a good enough impression, as this will only last around 30 seconds in which an employer will then decide whether to continue reading your application.
However the main question is, what should a cover letter include?
Firstly, a cover letter should never contain why a company should employ you, everything in a cover letter should be encouragement to the recruiter so that they continue on to read your CV.
If you are not sure where you should start when writing your cover letter, here is a step-by-step guide to help you write the best possible cover letter.
Firstly, you will need to do some research on the company and job which you are applying to work for, there is nothing more off-putting than going to an interview and not knowing anything about the company and what the job actually involves.
Carrying out this research will help you to tailor your cover letter and CV to suit the company and also shows that you are really interested in the role and the company itself.
Addressing your cover letter
This may seem like an obvious thing to do, however try and ensure that you address the letter to the person who is heading up the job and is receiving the applications, this is something that you can usually find situated on the job advert itself.
If you are unsure of this person, do not be afraid to contact the company and ask for a name and who you should address your application to, this will also show how interested you are and that you have initiative.
If you know the contact – Dear Mr Jones / Dear Ms Wright
If you don’t know the contact – Dear Sir / Madam
What to include in your cover letter
When you begin to write your cover letter, you need an opening paragraph to start this off. This paragraph should be short and very straight to the point, this will include why you writing to the company.
'I would like to be considered for the position of ‘Accounts Assistant’.
It would also be a good idea to mention where it was that you saw the advert for the job, such as found on the SF website, or if you were referred to by a friend make sure you mention their name.
In this paragraph you will need to include why you think you are suitable for the job. Here you will need to describe your professional and academic qualifications which you believe are relevant to the role, and refer to the skills which are listed in the job description.
This is where you get the opportunity to tell the recruiter what you can do for the company. Make sure to outline your career goal, making sure that it is relevant to the position in which you are applying for, and expand on relevant points from your actual CV.
The fourth and final paragraph is where you should mention your interest in the role and why you think that you are the right person for the role, and mention that you would like to meet with the employer for an interview.
Closing the letter
Sign off your cover letter with ‘Yours sincerely’ and your name.
How to present your cover letter
There is nothing more frustrating for recruiters than attempting to read a hand written document. A typed document in an easy-to-read font will ensure the recruiter can scan your cover letter easily. Also, keep it brief. One side of A4 should be sufficient.