Are you ignoring your best chance to promote yourself? ..While the standard of resumes has remained consistent in the last ten years, the quality of cover letters has generally declined. Tiffany Svenson, Senior Recruitment Consultant believes that this is most likely due to the online application process. “As a result, those applicants who address the job criteria, personalise their application and promote their key attributes in a well written cover letter stand out.”
So what makes a cover letter effective? The three key components are purpose, personalisation and promotion. A good cover (or application) letter will provide you with the opportunity to introduce yourself, convince the reader of your suitability for the role and demonstrate your attention to detail.
While your resume outlines experiences and achievements, a cover letter can be a little less formal and should entice the reader to review your resume. It should clearly identify what job you are applying for and describe a little about your relevant experience (bullet points can be used), making sure you address the selection criteria written in the job advertisement.
Put yourself in the mindset of an employer reviewing multiple applications. They will have a limited time to devote to each cover letter/resume and do now want to read pages and pages of waffle. What do they need to know about you that will potentially benefit their company? A cover letter allows you to express your suitability, experience, enthusiasm and your interest in the employer.
By addressing your letter to a specific person, it demonstrates you have made an effort to read the instructions. If this information is not in the job advertisement, you can usually find out by contacting the employer and asking who you should address your application to. Always try to avoid “To whom it may concern” where possible.
It is important to provide or refer to any information specifically requested in a job advertisement that might not be covered in your resume, such as your availability date or location if different to where the job is being advertised. An example of this is:
“As I will be moving from Melbourne to Sydney in August this year, I am currently looking for an employment opportunity…”
This information may be part of the selection criteria, which means you won’t advance to the interview stage if you are unclear. Your cover letter should be tailored to the criteria and therefore should change with every application.
With only pertinent information included, a cover letter will ideally be no more than one page in length unless specified by the employer. It needs to be easy to read and clearly promote your strengths and assets in a way that would interest those reviewing it. Avoid using clichés such as “I have excellent communication and interpersonal skills” or “I am a team player”. It is best to provide specific examples that demonstrate these assertions.
Remember to use the actual employer name and avoid spelling errors. Your high level management experience will lose credibility if you write ‘manger’ by mistake!
For more information on tips click here