The job market is super tough right now.
Redundancies are going up every week.
The unemployment rate has been increasing steadily since the start of the year.
Recruiters are reporting 100s of applications for every vacancy.
All this means that when you’re job hunting, more than ever your cover letter needs to make you STAND OUT from the crowd.
How to write a cover letter that makes you stand out when job hunting
A cover letter isn’t always needed. And if you’re going through a recruitment agency, you may be wasting energy as your cover letter might not even get seen by the hiring manager.
However if it’s a direct advertisement and they ask for a cover letter DEFINITELY do one. And it needs to be more than a brief “Dear Sirs, Please find attached a copy of my CV. Thank you in anticipation. Yours faithfully“.
A good cover letter will send you straight to the top of the YES pile.
When you write your cover letter make sure you have the job description and role criteria in front of you. Make it easy for the recruiter – you don’t need to be creative. Speak to each of the essential criteria in order so that it’s easy for the person reading your cover letter to say “Tick, tick, tick …”
Before you start writing, get into the right frame of mind. Put on some loud dance music and dance away for 5 minutes to raise your energy levels. Then sit down to write the letter.
Customise the cover letter for every job that you apply to. Don’t fall into the trap of using a generic cover letter for your job applications.
Cover letter structure
The structure that I recommend to my clients:
- Why you – share the top 3 achievements that make you suitable for the role
- Why you’re a good fit for the company or for the role
- Why you want to work for the company – use this to demonstrate your knowledge and experience of the company, industry or sector
- Ending – with one sentence “thank you for considering me”
Most importantly make sure that demonstrate HOW you meet the criteria for the job. In total your cover letter should be around 3 to 5 paragraphs. No more than a page.
When you describe why you’re a good fit, include examples and be specific. Not just “I’m a great team player” but give an example of how you’ve been contributed or led a successful team.
Remember to always refer back to the job description, make it easy for the recruiter to check off the key criteria and tailor your cover letter to the specific job application.