6 Tips For an Excellent Cover Letter

6 Tips for an Excellent Cover Letter

A cover letter can be the key to getting that job you want; here are our tips to help you catch the recruiter’s attention and make a brilliant first impression!

6 Tips for an Excellent Cover Letter

So you’ve polished your resume or your CV with your latest professional achievements, and now you’re ready to apply for that amazing job you’ve been waiting for. The CV is clear, direct and well-designed, and you are good to go.

Moments before submitting your application online, you re-read the checklist of the job advertisement and realize you almost forgot to include your cover letter! No problem, you have a standard cover letter that just needs some minor adjustments; you change the date and address it to this particular company, and send it out. What can possibly go wrong…?

Standard cover letters are a big NO!

Recruiters (and people with advanced reading skills) can easily spot those standard cover letters created with the goal of fitting as many job applications as possible: these are often vague, plain and forgettable.

The whole purpose of a cover letter is to introduce the candidate while also highlighting how beneficial they can be for one particular company, or for one particular job; failing to do so might result in an application being placed at the bottom of the pile.

(via GIPHY)

Why do companies ask for a cover letter?

Not all cultures adopt the cover letter as an integral part of job applications; but for those who do, the letter is seen as a multipurpose item: it can be used to screen candidates according to their writing skills, to get extra information that is not on their CV, and to find out how motivated they are for the job.
Some companies receive hundreds of new applications every day; in this case, it is common for them to sift through CVs and cover letters searching for certain keywords — and if these keywords are missing, even a good application might be left behind. In other cases, cover letters are only taken into account at a later stage, after the initial shortlisting: it can be the decisive factor between inviting an applicant for a second/third interview or not, between getting an offer letter or not.
[ctt template=”1″ link=”7V621″ via=”no” ]A #tip from @voicetube: cover letters can be the decisive factor between inviting an applicant for a 2nd interview or not. Work on yours![/ctt]

How to write the best cover letter

So how do we come up with a good cover letter that is sure to grab the recruiter’s attention and open all doors to the new job?

1. Work on each cover letter as if that was the only job you ever wanted

Highlight what you love about the company. You must show how well you know and how interested you are in this particular company — even if, in reality, you might be applying for many different jobs at the same time. This cool little video emphasizes the importance of showing your interest:

Also, customize the letter to match the job description as closely as possible, including important keywords; if they are looking for a highly motivated circus trainer who specializes in llama tricks (and if you meet the requirements), make sure you include essential keywords, like “motivated”, “circus”, “trainer” and “llama”.

2. Focus on what you can do for them

Most people imagine that the cover letter is the place where they can brag endlessly about their skills; however, what the recruiter is really interested in is how good a match you are for their company. So you may be an awesome circus trainer with 15+ years of experience with llama tricks — but how can you help the company grow? What makes you a valuable asset?

3. Keep it short and go straight to the point

Some people could write a 200-page novel and still feel like they haven’t included all the information they wanted. But when it comes to cover letters, less is more: try to stick to a 1-2 page limit. An excessively long cover letter is like that obnoxious person who can’t stop talking about how great they are, while everyone else is just hoping they stop talking.

(via GIPHY)

Make sure your text makes sense and is divided into well-structured paragraphs; also, choose a font size and layout that makes reading it a reasonably pleasant experience. Remember, your cover letter should be as eye-catching as your CV!

4. Watch your language!

Nothing looks more demoralizing than a silly grammar mistake or typo on your cover letter. Did you mention “strong attention to detail” on your CV? Then make your words count! Double-check all your text before submitting an application. If possible, ask a friend to check your grammar and spelling — after all, an extra pair of eyes can be quite helpful.

5. Add a header

Your application will probably be placed together with several other CVs and cover letters; sometimes it might happen that a clumsy recruiter mixes your papers with someone else’s, so make sure you add a header to your cover letter, with your name and email.

And since we mentioned the email, here’s an extra tip: when applying for a job, always use a professional-looking email address! If you were a recruiter, who would you be more inclined to hire: [email protected] or [email protected]?

[ctt template=”1″ link=”z2fJq” via=”no” ]A #tip from @voicetube: always use a professional-looking email when job-hunting! Nobody would want to hire [email protected][/ctt]

6. Be prepared

Finally, keep in mind that the cover letter is only one of the many steps in the hiring process. You have to be prepared for job interviews and maintaining contact through formal email conversations too. Check out VoiceTube’s Business Channel for some great tips on business attire, telephone etiquette and much more!

Improve your English every week with our blog!