The current job market is extremely competitive and it’s becoming increasingly difficult to get noticed.
To improve your chances of securing an interview, try writing a well crafted, targeted cover letter to accompany your well crafted, targeted CV.
Make it personal
This may seem a little too obvious but a lot of candidates will either give too much information about themselves or not enough. Keep it simple, include your key achievements; this could be qualifications relevant to the role, awards that have been received, or general recognitions. Just make sure they are relevant.
I have a first class degree in Applied Psychology with experience within a range of mental health settings. In my current role I have been the lead psychologist on our recent project, managing and coordinating a team of five psychology professionals.
Adapt to the role
You may have written a few cover letters, but the you must tailor each letter to each role, which can be done simply. Address the cover letter to the recruiter or hiring manager, by name, i.e ‘Dear Mr/ Mrs Jones’, not ‘Dear Bob’, this shows that you have tailored your cover letter and made the effort to find out the name of the person responsible for recruitment. As a last resort, use ‘Sir/Madam’. Link your skills and attributes to the job description, as this shows the hirer that you have read and acknowledged what is required for the role.
For example, strong communication skills:
I have excellent communication skills, which I have developed through my degree and my current role as a [insert job title] and have established positive relationships with clients, customers and stakeholders.
Reason for application
Do your research before you apply for a role. Is this going to be a company you want to work for? Where does the role sit in the organisation and is that somewhere you want to be? By doing this research and highlighting this in your cover letter, the recruiter will see you have made an effort and put time into your application rather than just clicking ‘Apply’.
I am applying for this role as I believe that my skills would benefit the position and it is the ideal role for me to develop and progress my career.
The overall look
Recruiters want to see a clear, concise side of A4 with 3-4 paragraphs. It must be plainly written with all grammar and spelling checked carefully. If there are mistakes, there is a good chance that the recruiter may not even read your CV. Ensure that it looks professional, just like your CV.
Key takeaways: Ensure your cover letter is clear, to the point, addressed correctly, tailored to the role being applied for and it highlights relevant skills, experience and qualifications (don’t copy and paste any part of the job description or your CV).
By Meg Murphy – Owner of Red CV Writing and Co-Founder and Director of Red Recruitment Solutions Ltd
Member since: 22nd May 2013
I am currently director of Red Recruitment Solutions and owner of Red CV Writing, a professional CV writing service which also offers LinkedIn profile writing. For more information, please visit www.redcvwriting.co.uk