The evolution of the cover letter and how you should be using it to complement your CV…
As you know, it can be extremely daunting and, somewhat, time-consuming looking for a new job. Between networking on LinkedIn and tailoring your CV to each and every respective job advertisement, time is limited. So should you skip the cover letter? After all, rumour has it that recruiters and potential employers don’t read them anymore. So, why waste more precious time drafting the perfect cover letter?
Whilst it is true that the cover letter is often overlooked, there is still a substantial number of employers that do put a high emphasis on the cover letter. So while it may be enticing to forego the task of compiling additional documents, you may be damaging your application by not including one. Sometimes, the cover letter may even play a detrimental role in landing you that interview.
Now that we have established the importance of the cover letter, what should be included? Well, times are changing. The basic concept should remain, but how should the cover letter be crafted to complement your application?
1. The Introduction
First impressions count which is why it is important to address the cover letter to the employer directly. “Dear Sir or Madam” or “Dear Whoever It May Concern” is dead, and just won’t cut it anymore. This shows the employer that you are not really that interested since you didn’t even bother to take just 5 minutes to do just a little research.
2. The opening paragraph
Whilst it may be tempting to follow suit and start with “I am writing to outline my interest in the [job] at [company]”, isn’t this boring and cliché? Secondly, isn’t this already completely obvious to the reader? Now, let’s say you started with “it is with great excitement that I submit my application as I have been passionate about teaching ever since I was elected student representative at University”. Would this encourage the employer to read on? Absolutely. The point here is – be memorable and stand out from the crowd. It is 2018!
3. Tailor it
The key to any great cover letter is the way it outlines a candidates experience in line with the job description. You don’t want to simply highlight your skills here, you want to make it clear what distinguishes you from the competition.
Whilst it might be tempting to tell the employer that you are a marketing professional with a successful history in revenue generation, isn’t this the sole purpose of marketing? If a marketing professional isn’t generating revenue, then they can’t be all that good at marketing. So, use examples to demonstrate your achievements and also engaging words to grab reader interest. Again, you want to be memorable.
For example “Not only am I a marketing guru, but I have influenced team performance and achieved successes in driving online sales; the result? I have already achieved an impressive revenue growth of 25%”. Now doesn’t that sound more appealing? Exactly.
4. Don’t be desperate
Thank you, thank you, thank you! Thanking an employer for taking the time to read your application or thanking a recruiter for their consideration is like thanking a salesman for selling something.
It is their job and so there is no need to give the impression that the employer is doing you a huge favour. Instead, simply bridge the gap and demonstrate how your experience matches the job requirements. This is definitely a better use of the space than all the gushing.
If you require assistance with writing the perfect cover letter, please visit our website to find out more about how our team of professional CV Writers can assist.
What are your thoughts on the evolution of the cover letter? Please leave your comments below…