Most of us invest a lot of time writing and rewriting our CVs; updating them with new skills, reworking the layout, editing the language. Only to find that a killer cover letter is also needed, sigh. There are loads of examples and templates online but the thought of doing all that work on another document is enough to put you off applying for a job at all.
Though it may seem like it, cover letters do not exist to make you suffer. Employers and recruiters do actually read them and a killer cover letter is a great chance to give potential employers a real sense of who you are and your passion for your work. Things that will help you to stand out from other candidates!
Check out our cover letter basics to help you stop procrastinating and make writing your cover letter as painless as possible:
Connect yourself to the company
Remember that a cover letter is a way for an employer to get to know you before interviewing you, so try to get them excited about meeting you and inviting you to join their team. What brings you to this company? Has their product/work affected you in any way? Do you use their product daily? Details like these give life to your application and authenticate your passion for the role.
Be sure to highlight the required skills
You’ve used your CV to summarise your key skills but your cover letter is a great opportunity to demonstrate how you’ve used them to add value. If the requires great communication skills and the ability to work to deadlines, explain how you wrote the weekly newsletter in your previous role and increased readership. If you’re unsure of the key skills or experience you should include, try using Wordle. Just copy and paste the ad and the site will highlight the prominent words.
Don’t repeat what is on your CV
One of the main purposes of a cover letter is to touch on what you can bring to the company without repeating yourself. The best way to do this is to tell a story about how you’ve used said skills, see example in our previous tip. It is a delicate balance to strike but think of it as a great way to include details you didn’t have space for on your CV!
Match your tone to the job ad
After reading the ad, deciding it’s perfect for you and imagining making boss moves in the chicest of outfits, read it again. Generally, younger companies lean towards a more personal tone to embody their company culture. The more established tend to have a more professional style. Your killer cover letter will be in tune with the tone of the ad. For example, if there is more a casual tone, be sure to impart your enthusiasm, it will help the company see how you could be a good fit and be interested in meeting you in person.
Triple check for any mistakes
Repeat after me, “a killer cover letter does not contain silly grammatical errors or spelling mistakes”. Particularly if attention to detail is listed as one of the qualities the employer is looking for! Imagine if you had to read hundreds of cover letters a day and you get to one with mistakes throughout; turrah! A failure to have checked your own work and identify errors will give the impression that you’re either disinterested or incapable of working independently. Not traits that will get you hired. If you have trouble reading through your work, ask a friend or family member to take a peek or download PYT fave Grammarly, this babe will check it for you.
So those are our basics for writing a killer cover letter. One that will finesse any employer and leverage open the proverbial door so that you can win over the interviewer in person.
Words by Ife Adedoyin