Some may say that writing a cover letter for the company or job role of your dreams is similar to writing a love letter. Yes, it’s true that your cover letter should show how you are a good match for a certain role or company. However don’t be tempted to go overboard and declare your love so early in the relationship by detailing how the company simply couldn’t continue to exist without your set of unique and beautiful skills. So what should you write in your cover letter (or email)?
Don’t duplicate your CV
When you start writing your cover letter, don’t introduce any new information that isn’t already in your CV. Pick out the key features of your CV that best match the job role you are applying for.
Straight to the point
A well written cover letter should draw the recruiter’s eye to the most important and impressive parts of your CV. Many recruiters reading your letter will be skim-reading to find the pieces of key information most relevant to them, so waffling isn’t a good strategy. Use short, sharp facts or figures to back up your larger statements. Make sure that these are tailored to match the skills and experience required by the company you are applying to.
Flirt! Talk about the company
Do some research and tell them exactly why you are applying and what makes them an attractive company. As a graduate looking for your first graduate job or placement, it’s important to stand out from the crowd and research could be the platform to do so. If you found a post on their Facebook page about a CSR initiative that you found particularly appealing, why not mention it? It shows you’ve taken your time to do your research. Don’t go overboard with the mushy stuff though.
Reflect your personality
You personality is what is going to separate you from the crowd so use it to your advantage. Enterprise European HR Director Donna Miller wrote a blog post about how to use your personality to further your career which will provide some handy tips. Personal branding is always a hot topic for graduates so use your cover letter to prove you’re enthusiastic and motivated.
What’s your hook?
Think of a unique opening introduction line. The majority of cover letters will start: “I am writing in regards to the job advertised in…” Try to stand out from the crowd with a similar line detailing the reason why you are applying for this particular role and why you are a good match for it.
Example opening lines:
Dear [recruiter] I believe I have the skills necessary to fulfil the [job role] seen advertised on [source]…
Dear [recruiter] I noticed the [job role] position on [source] and wish to apply as it is directly related to my previous experience/degree.
A well presented cover letter and CV is usually only the first step in the application process, which will only get you an invite to the interview table. Getting your ideal graduate job is all down to you.