Covering letters are playing an increasingly important role in a strong job search strategy. If you are offered the chance to submit a covering letter alongside your CV, make the most of this valuable opportunity to engage the recruiter’s attention. This is often the differentiating factor between having your CV read or rejected.
I thoroughly enjoy writing covering letters and aim to get ‘under the skin’ of both the applicant and the recruiter. Approximately 99% of the covering letters I write are for clients for whom I have written their CV, at which point I understand their career history and their target roles as well as having got to know them a little more. So I will not describe you as a ‘dynamic and entrepreneurial team player’ if what you actually want to do is be allowed to get on with your job in peace and prefer not to have to make any major decisions. But I will be able to highlight why those personal qualities suit the team and the company perfectly! I am always delighted to hear that the covering letter I have written has helped a client move into the next level of management, secure a highly sought after internship, gain a place on a Masters programme or be selected for interview with one of the world’s leading companies.
The same basic principles for CV writing apply here too; keep it succinct, analyse the job specification for the key words and ensure you have grasped the main areas of accountability for the role. Then set about briefly addressing and evidencing how you meet the criteria.
Of primary importance in a covering letter is confirming that you meet the non-negotiable ‘Essential’ criteria. So for instance, should the job details/person specification state ‘the successful applicant will have 5+ years sector specific experience supported by a bachelors degree in a related subject (minimum 2:1)’, and you meet the criteria, tell them straight away in the first paragraph.
Following the introduction, the main body of the covering letter should then move to specific details such as how your experience will allow you to successfully deliver the role. Providing real examples will make a huge difference to the impact of a strong covering letter rather than simply stating that you have the experience. Ending the covering letter on a more personal note can also work well, and gives you an opportunity to demonstrate your keen interest in working for the company.
Do some research into the company so that you comment on a recent fact or perhaps show how your personal values resonate with the company’s values. This communicates to the reader that you are genuinely interested in the specific role/company rather than applying for yet another job in the hope of striking lucky this time. Recruiters can easily identify a generic covering letter in comparison to one specifically written for each application so make sure your covering letter is different!
Should you like some assistance in writing a professional covering letter feel free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org or call me on 07530 719271. Fees are from £35 - £65.
I am now in a senior management position that is partly thanks to Sarah in explaining and demonstrating the importance of a well presented CV.
Paul Mitcham - Manager
I have helped clients to secure interviews with leading organisations including ...