Cover Letters – What Should You Include?

Here we look at providing you with some helpful tips for writing your all important covering letter, a great tool which we recommend you include when applying for your next career opportunity.

 

So why a cover letter and what’s the key purpose?

  • It’s a great tool to make the reader interested enough to read your application thoroughly.
  • This is your opportunity to persuade the reader to take your application to the next step.
  • Take advantage of your chance to showcase your ability and the skills and experiences that you have that are essential to the success of the position.

 

Understand the position

Before applying for a position, understand the position first.  Find out what the position is all about, what sort of employer they are, what they are looking for and how do you match up with what they’re seeking?

 

How do you achieve this?

  • Thoroughly read through the advert and highlight all the key words, what are they looking for?
  • Is there access to the Job/Position Description?  If so, read it and highlight all the key words relating to what you need in order to be successful in the position.  If there’s not a Job/Position Description linked to the advert, find out where to get a copy or get in touch with the recruiter to obtain a copy.
  • Find their website and read up on them, who are they as an employer and what are their values?  A lot of companies are now on Facebook and LinkedIn, so why not check out their social media.  Do they align with who you are?

 

What do you have to offer?

Now that you know more about the position, consider this question carefully for each and every position that you apply for.  Key questions to consider:

  • Whats your value?
  • What can you offer and how does this match to what they’re seeking?
  • What’s your ideal working environment and how does this match what you know about the employer?
  • What else can you bring to the position?
  • Why would you love to have the position and how would it advance your personal career goals.

 

Now that you understand the position and how you match with what they’re seeking, lets look at how to write your cover letter.

 

Writing your Cover Letter

In your covering letter you want to ensure you cover off four key area’s.

  • Here you introduce the reader to who you are and an overall statement around why you’re applying for the position.  Be specific with details relating to the position, ensuring that you use the correct job title, company name and the recruiters name.
  • Why you and why the position. This is where you showcase what you will bring to the position and how your skills, knowledge and experience match with what they’re seeking.  Even better, highlight some accomplishments that reinforce your skills, knowledge and experience.  Again, making sure that what you highlight here is directly related to what they’re seeking.  Be specific so the reader can refer to more detail that’s in your Curriculm Vitae.
  • Why the organisation. Incorporate throughout your letter what you’ve learnt about the organisation and how you will be a suitable fit for the organisation.
  • Here is your opportunity to summarise what you can offer and prompt the reader to get in touch with you.  Don’t forget to include your number here and include a call to action.

 

And a few last pointers:

  • Keep it professional, in a standard business format, readable font style and font size.
  • Include your contact details in the body of the letter, so you make it easier for the recruiter to get in touch with you.
  • Keep the length to one page.
  • Check spelling and grammer, then double check.
  • Keep the consistency of styling throughout your application (cover letter and CV).
  • Remove abbreviations or technical terms.
  • Ensure information contained in your application is correct – as it can all be checked!
  • Avoid excessive use of I, we and our.
  • Don’t just dublicate what’s in your CV, it’s your time to shine and really show the reader why you’re the best person for the position.
  • Be honest.
  • Take time to target your cover letter to the position that you’re applying for.

 

Good luck!