You've mastered your CV. You’ve got your killer references. You’re good to go right? Hmm not quite…
You’ve neglected your cover letter and in doing so ruined your chance of securing that dream job! Often the cover letter is the very first impression of a candidate, this is the shop window, the opening as it were. But all too often candidates undersell themselves and blow their big chance. We surveyed experienced recruitment consultants about their top peeves when reading a cover letter as well as gathering their advice on how to make the most of it.
So what’s the secret to crafting that winning cover letter?
1. Not tailoring your cover letter to the job you’re applying for
100% of all the Recruitment Consultants we polled agreed! Cover letters should specifically tell the client why you are good for the particular role you’re applying for. Sending out generic cover letters to multiple roles shows a lack of preparation and attention to detail. Be concise, specific and always bring it back to the role and company you’re applying for.
2. Grammatical and spelling errors
Now, this should be obvious but it is amazing how frequently mistakes crop up. 82% of the Recruiters we surveyed mentioned that this made them less likely to continue reading. Such a simple and quick fix as running a spell checker over your letter will pick up any glaring issues you may have overlooked. However, you shouldn’t just end it there though. Actually, read it. And read it again. And then read it one more time. Give it to someone else to read! I’d suggest downloading Grammarly as an addition to all of the previous steps.
Not the delicious continental treat but endless, generic and often irrelevant content. Too much 'waffle' and explanation of your whole work experience rather than writing content that is targeted towards the company and the role is going to make the reader switch off quickly. Try to keep your cover letter to no longer than two-thirds of a page. Whilst writing your cover letter always consider how you would benefit the firm hiring you. If you have the mindset of 'how will this cover letter separate me from the crowd' you are on the right lines.
Now by no means is this a comprehensive list however if you follow the basics your cover letter should improve tenfold. Now that you’ve incorporated these three simple steps into your cover letter process it’s time to ensure that your CV is up to scratch too.
Speak to one of the team about more ways to improve your cover letter.