Don’t underestimate the power of the cover letter, the role of the covering letter is to get the reader to want to read the CV, pure and simple. So it has to be good!
Here is a simple formula to get your covering letter together;
Your opening paragraph should grab the readers attention and clearly tell them why you are writing to them.
The traditional approach
‘I found out about your exciting opportunity on my university’s careers vacancy system I will graduate with a degree in Business & Management in June, and am on track for a 2:1. ‘
The ‘traditional approach’ is perhaps becoming more common and a little overused so you could try grabbing the users attention by telling them upfront about your skills and experience;
‘I was excited to find out about the graduate role within your marketing team. As a business graduate with a passion for all things digital, proven experience of creating engaging content and growing digital channels by over 40% – I am confident I’d be a great fit for this role ‘
If it is a speculative letter and CV, you have to be clear what you are looking for;
“I am extremely interested in XXX company because (state why you want to work for them, show your extensive research of the organisation, e.g. leader in product development, early job responsibility, changing times, business results, exciting policies). I am currently looking for XXX role (state the types of jobs you are interested in).”
Tell the company why you want to work for them, avoid saying “XYZ is a big company with a great reputation” instead, show that you have done some research and you know what makes them ‘special’ or ‘different’ to their competitors. Also show how you fit!
This is where you tell them why they cannot afford not to interview you. You can write one or two paragraphs. A good test of what to write is to ask yourself: ‘If I only have 10 seconds to sell myself for this job, what would I say?’
If this letter and CV are in answer to an advertised post, what are the very best skills, strengths or qualities matching the key requirements for the job in question. You can use the job advert as a checklist!
If this letter is writing to ask if the organisation might have any unadvertised opportunities – and many do not advertise jobs – then in this paragraph you have to make an educated guess at what qualities etc., they would be looking for and write accordingly.
Although a formality, it pays to say it well. ‘Thank you for taking the time to ready my letter and CV. I look forward to discussing it with you in person.’ A nicer way to ask for an interview!