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How To Improve Your Cover Letter

Published: Friday 18th September 2015

Cover letter written on a diagram with other keywords around it

This week is National Letter Writing Week, an initiative launched by Royal Mail and the National Literacy Trust. To end this ‘week dedicated to the art of letter writing’, we at Zoek take another look at how to write a cover letter.

For any job application you send out, the cover letter is equally as – if not more important than – your CV. In a competitive job market, it is essential to differentiate yourself from your competitors. The cover letter offers you a chance to speak directly to an employer and is your first opportunity to impress. How can you write a cover letter that can boost your chances of success?

Don’t Be A Bore

The cover letter is no excuse for you to write a full biography. Keep your letter concise. A single page is usually enough in order not to bore any potential employers with providing too much information. Detail only the most relevant experience you have and directly relate this to the job description.

Stick To The Basics

There are only three major points you need to address in any cover letter. Why you are writing; why you are interested in working for the company you are applying to; and why the company should be interested in you.

Make It Personal
Although your cover letter needs to be relevant and concise, it should also reflect your personality and mirror your professional style. Are you an extrovert or an introvert, for example? Make sure this comes across in your communication. When writing your letter, it’s also important to remember that a one-size-fits-all approach isn’t likely to get you the job you really want. Amend any draft you may have and make your letter individual to the employer you are reaching out to. Most recruiters can spot a template a mile off.

Show, Don’t Tell
Your cover letter is not a platform for repeating the information you have already included on your CV. Don’t use cliches and stop trying to impress employers with exactly the same things everyone else will be trying to impress them with. The best cover letters highlight a candidate’s unique skills, achievements and personality traits and use specific examples of previous professional situations where the candidate has used these skills to achieve a successful outcome.

Tie Together Loose Ends

Your cover letter allows you to explain any inconsistencies or gaps on your CV, so use this opportunity wisely. If there is anything on your CV that you are not particularly proud of, you can turn this into something positive. How has a bad experience developed your skills and strengths, for example?

If you are looking for a new opportunity, why not download the Zoek job searching app to let your new job find you? The app for faster, smarter recruitment can be downloaded on iOS or Android.

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