Here at RedCat Digital, our candidates come first and we want to ensure we do everything we can to help you find your dream job. The final instalment of this three part series, is all about your cover letter, as getting this right is just as important as writing the perfect CV – which we covered in the first instalment. If you’ve already written your CV and have identified potential and related job titles to apply for, then you need to learn how to present who you are and what you do in a short and focused document.

We know that writing Cover Letters can be a daunting process, and although there’s no one-size-fits-all formula, we’ve put together this comprehensive guide of Tips & Tricks to help you grab an employer’s attention.

What is the purpose of a Cover Letter?

To begin, you need to understand that your cover letter is a personal introduction, providing the organisation with a summary as to why you would be suited to the vacancy and drawing attention to your CV – which should hold all your relevant information, experience and skills. But remember: you don’t need to regurgitate your CV, you only need to compliment it!

As one of the first things an employer or recruiter sees when looking at your job application, ensure that your cover letter highlights your skills and experience in relation to the job role. Employers and Recruiters receive hundreds of applications a day, so just like your CV, use your cover letter as chance to express yourself, and be innovative!

Do your Research

Research plays a crucial part when writing a cover letter, as it not only shows your passionate about the role but also that you’ve made a real effort to connect with the company and it can only act as evidence as to why you’re the suitable choice.

First things first, read through the job description you’re applying for and shortlist a few of the required skills or experiences to reference. From there, you can then illustrate these skills with examples. Also take note of and reference the companies values, culture and aims – not only will this benefit you by helping you decide whether it’s a company you want to work for, but it will also show that you took the time to learn about the organisation and that you have a genuine interested in the role and company.

Another important part to writing a cover letter is to keep it professional, but make it personal when possible. It’s always best to address the letter to a named person as this proves you did your research. Try to find the HR or hiring manager through LinkedIn, or if you’re using a recruitment company then a consultant can put you in touch.

Formatting

To make life a little easier, you can use a basic format and layout for each cover letter – usually containing 4 paragraphs. However, if you want to be creative, then feel free to play around the formatting, just remember that a cover letter is a professional document and should therefore be presented in a professional way. Always remember to tailor each letter to a specific job role or company you apply for.

Length

Employers and recruiters alike, have a clear preference towards short letters, as no one wants to be met by a wall of text with each application. Keep it short, sweet and simple – with 3-5 paragraphs and no more than a single A4 page.

Layout

Introduction: In this first paragraph, let the company know who you are, and include the position you’re applying for. Although it’s not necessary, it could be beneficial to add bullet points as an effective way of demonstrating what your objectives are.

Body: With a maximum of 3 short paragraphs, the body of the letter is where you can go into detail about why you would like to work for the company and how your knowledge and passion is relevant or the sector. You can also highlight the relevant skills and experience you shortlisted in the research stage and quantify this with statistics or any relevant data as a backup.

Conclusion: This is where you round up your cover letter and begin by reiterating your  key skills and how they match the position. You should also direct the company to your CV and mention that you look forward to hearing from them.

Tailor each cover letter

As each company and role that you apply for will be different, you’ll need to write different variations of your cover letter for each application. Therefore, it’s best practice not to use generic and vague phrases.

In Summary

A great cover letter will force employers and recruiters to take notice. Even if you follow RedCat’s basic format, each cover letter should be unique, with the aim to stand out to recruiters, and never use the same cover letter for different roles or companies. Don’t forget that when applying for a new job, you need to be able to market yourself and show what you can bring to the role. Once you’ve finished writing your cover letter, remember to proof read three times over, checking for any grammatical mistakes.

If you found our three part series “how to land your dream job” helpful, then follow us on LinkedIn or Twitter for  daily industry news and future blog updates. If you’re currently looking for a new job role and would like to find the right role for you, then call us on 0207 265 7810 and one our specialist consultants will be happy to help.

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