5 top tips for guaranteed cover letter success

1. Be Genuine

“I am very excited about joining a fast-paced organisation like [Company] because I am a self-starter…”

vs

“I am applying for a position at [Company] because I am a passionate and engaged user of its technology. Since the release of v1 of CoolApp, I believe that the value that your organisation provides and its ethos of XYZ is something I want to be a part of…”

Let’s face it! We all think that we are sneaky like a fox and can churn out hundreds of applications without adding anything extra but you must do your homework and make it genuine!

2. It’s who you know

If you know someone at the company, mention them in the first paragraph of your cover letter.

3. Or is it?

Let’s face it, we don’t all have an “in.” So you must highlight your career and educational achievements. But remember, it’s not about “you”, it’s also about “them “. Give the job listing a careful read and analyse it to see where your own experiences best match up.

If a required skill is: creation of promotional videos. Instead of saying, “During university, I created video tutorials for use in breakout sessions” say “I’ll bring extensive experience of creating and editing video tutorials to help promote and increase web exposure of v2 of CoolApp.”

4. Follow-up

Always close the cover letter with the promise of a “next step.” That way, even if your application gets lost at the bottom of a pile, when you reach out to the potential employer they’ll be reminded to go retrieve your cover letter and CV and take another look. For example, end with a promise of a phone call or an email within the week.

However, never promise something in your cover letter you cannot deliver. If you mention that you plan to follow-up by phone or email at the end of a week, set a reminder and really do it!

5. Finish Strong

Make sure your letter will survive all aspects of the “first impression” test. Be sure to proofread your cover letter so it is completely error free.

-Don’t trust spell-check! It will miss words spelt correctly out of context.

-Print it out and read it through slowly word-by-word.

-Take a break and come back for a second pass, you’ll be surprised what you spot the second (or third) time around with fresh eyes.

-Finally, ask a friend to read over it to make a final check for consistency, formatting and errors.

Good Luck!

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