Although greater emphasis is usually placed on the CV, a covering letter is equally important and should be written with care and consideration. Along with your CV, it will be the first thing a potential employer will see and can result in a call for an interview or being immediately dismissed from contention. In order to help you get it right, we’ve compiled a list of the five things that must be included in any covering letter.
When you first apply for a job, it’s essential that you find out who is in charge of recruitment and who you should be addressing your covering letter to. By having a specific addressee, you show that you’ve done your research, comprehend the importance of a personal connection in business and understand the structure of the organisation in which you could be working.
Just as important as what you hope to do in the future is what you have done in the recent past. Providing details about your current, or most recent, job is vital in demonstrating that you’ve acquired transferable skills. Make sure the information you give is relevant to the new job and that you understand that employers will be looking for someone that can take all of their past experience and use it in their new role.
Covering letters should be fairly short. Though people will often give different figures, a good length for a cover letter is around 350 words. Any longer and you run the risk of rambling on or, even worse, boring the recruiter. While the letter does need to be concise, it also needs to pack in all essential information, so think carefully about how you’re going to structure the letter and leave plenty of time for editing.
How you fit in
Potential employers want to know how you’re going to fit into their company and the existing teams they have working on various projects. This means doing your research on the company in question and looking for information regarding their vision, aims and goals. If you can relate your own skills, characteristics and attributes to those of the company, you’ll be in an advantageous position.
Finally, it’s incredibly important that you provide evidence for any claims you make in a covering letter. If you give a list of personal skills, link them to situations in which you’ve used them historically. Potential employers want context to back up your claims and you won’t get far without it.
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