In our free webinars on CV and interview prep we touch on the subject of the cover letter, but here we go into a little more detail about its purpose and what should be included, if you choose to use one.
In our experience we have found that not all applications warrant a cover letter. There are certain instances when a cover letter does not enhance your application, namely:
When applying for a role via a recruiter – they often include the salient points you would include in a cover letter in their introduction of you as a candidate; saving you the trouble.
When you are applying via a social media advert. These tend to be a little less formal
Instances where a cover letter will help:
Highly competitive roles such as graduate and internship programmes
Where there is a deadline given and a higher volume of applications expected for a popular position
When specifically requested by the job poster
The cover letter then, provides a brief overview of your qualifications, skills, and experiences related to the position you are applying to. It will be read before your CV and so, is the first impression a hiring manager will have of you. So if you’re going to use one, it’s best to get it right.
What to Include in Your Cover Letter:
Introduction: where possible, address the hiring manager by name. You may be able to find this on the advert itself, or the practice/hospital website. Personalising the letter in this way shows courtesy and consideration. Always mention the position you are applying for (as there may be multiple vacancies in one location) and where you found the job listing. This small addition helps the hirer understand which adverts are working and by making their lives just a little bit easier, you show yourself in a good light.
Main Body: here you should provide more detail about why you are interested in the position. There’s no need to use flattery here, as that doesn’t always come across well, but mentioning why you have chosen this particular vacancy over that of a competitor goes a long way to demonstrating your fit for the position.
You want to show why they should chose you too, so use specific examples from your experiences to show how you have the skills and abilities they are looking for.
Conclusion:Summarise your qualifications and ensure you show your enthusiasm for the position. Request an interview and provide your contact information.
Cover Letter Do’s:
Keep it concise: Your cover letter should be no more than one page in length.
Leave adequate white space on the page to make it easy to read.
Ask for a second pair of eyes: it’s not always easy to spot your own spelling or grammar errors, so ask a friend or colleague to check it for you.
Cover Letter Don’ts:
Experiment with fancy fonts – use Arial, Calibri or Times New Roman so that it can be easily read.
Make it generic – if you’d used the same letter to apply for multiple roles, it will show
Use buzz words – instead aim for concrete examples
To summarize, you’ll stand out if:
You show your research and that you care enough about your potential future employer to spend time finding out more about them
Demonstrate your awareness of a practice’s values and culture and how you will be a good fit
Highlight what makes you different from other applicants and what your Unique Selling Point (USP) will contribute to the business
As part of our free 1-2-1 CV review, we are also happy to look over a cover letter for you. You can send it email@example.com