Tips for writing a cover letter
- Make it personal
Why does it matter? Because addressing your cover letter to a named individual will produce a quicker connection with the reader than a generic salutation. Besides, if you can illustrate your knowledge of the company or its products, your cover letter will incite the reader's interest and stand head and shoulders above the rest.
- Decide what makes you unique
It is convenient to differentiate among what you have to provide your employer and what your competitors can provide. Doing a list will help you calculate your personal point of difference, which will help not only in terms of knowing your own value, but will give your cover letter that competitive edge.
- Think about specificsA regular recruitment complaint from employers is jobseekers not addressing selection criteria - so it pays to get it right. Make a list of the selection criteria then use bullet points and the SAO (Situation - Action - Outcome) technique to present where and when you gained similar experience (Situation), what you did and how you did it (Action), and what the result of your actions were (Outcome.)
- Flaunt your achievementsEvery potential employer expects to hear about your achievements, but presenting the ones that best represent your relevant experience or transferable skills is critical. How to choose? Make a list of key achievements and only use the ones that relate best to the selection criteria and prove your abilities.
- Think about the layoutNext to the content of your cover letter, its layout is probably the most important decision you'll make. There are a lot of things to consider, and it pays to use bullet-points for ease of reading, but one of the most important layout considerations is that your cover letter spans no more than one page in total.
- Don‘t be afraid to follow things upSo you presented your job application on time, the application closing date passed a week ago, and you yet haven't heard a response? Don't be timid to reiterate your complete interest in the job with a follow-up phone call to your potential employer. Asking if your cover letter or resume was received and gently re-stating your suitability for the job can augment your chances of being interviewed.