How To Write a Cover Letter For A Job? Cover Letter Writing
Different jobs can have a variety of different ways of applying but one of the most common methods is to ask for the candidate to send a CV and a cover letter. You may be quite familiar with writing a CV already, and if not, you can check out our guide on what to include. However, a cover letter can often be a lot trickier to understand. Lucky for you, there are plenty of tips to get you started that the team here at BBO have built into a helpful guide.
What is a Cover Letter?
Often cover letters can be confused with personal statements that you find on your CV. However, it’s important to note that these are two separate documents. A cover letter should be sent alongside your CV as a way of further selling your application to your potential employer. Whereas your CV may be quite formal, a cover letter is your chance to explain exactly why you’re the best person for the job, highlighting the most relevant skills and experience to make your case.
Whereas you should still look to tailor your CV towards the potential job, a cover letter has much more room for this. In order to give you a better idea of how to write a cover letter, we’ve put together the following tips.
Look For Clues in the Job Description
When the employer advertises a job it’s commonplace that they will have also written a job description either as part of the advert or on their website. If you can find this, you can use it to your advantage given that you know what you’re looking for. This description can include skills that they’re looking for (often split into essential and desirable) required experience, personality traits and more details on the job itself.
Once you’ve read through it and found these, you can start to construct your cover letter with these in mind. If they have asked for someone that works well in a team, give examples of when you’ve done this well in the past. If the job is looking for experience in a certain task, share your experiences with it and why this experience would benefit the company. A job description can bring great focus to a cover letter.
Don’t Repeat Your CV
Especially when confused between a cover letter and a personal statement, people can fall into the trap of just repeating their CV. However, given that your CV will be sent alongside a cover letter, it’s important to recognise the difference. Whereas your CV should present all of your relevant experience, skills and education, the cover letter should explain why these factors make you the right candidate for the job. As discussed in the previous tip, you should highlight certain parts of your CV that apply to the job description and explain why you can deliver them to a high standard.
Keep it Short and Succinct
Whilst it’s uncommon, some employers will set a maximum word count for cover letters. If this is the case, that’s great because you have a target to work towards in writing succinctly. However, more often than not, the rules can be quite vague, leaving candidates confused at whether they’re doing the right thing.
The general rule according to employment advice websites such as CV Library is that ‘your cover letter should be no longer than a single A4 page.’ Whilst this is predominantly to make it more readable for employers needing to go through batches of applications, it also has its other benefits. Having a target of a singular page should help you to keep your sentences short and meaningful, with everything included for a reason. Make sure to format your text too by breaking up large chunks of text into paragraphs and using the same font style and size across the letter and your CV.
Proofread It Before Sending
We cannot stress enough, just how important this step is. You MUST proofread your cover letter before you send it. Whilst grammar and spelling checks online or in computer programs can help, you should never wholeheartedly trust them. If you feel like you might have missed something, send it to a family member or friend to check it over.
Also, make sure that any company details or names are spelt correctly. It’s vital to get these things right as no matter how well your work reads, getting these wrong can leave a bad impression. After all, if you’ve said in your application that you have good attention to detail but you’ve missed a mistake, it completely contradicts what you’ve been saying. Typos that haven’t been spotted can also be seen as lazy. An employer wants to see that you’ve put a lot of effort and care into your application.
Get Help Writing Your Cover Letter From BBO
If you need any help and support with writing your cover letter, we can help. Here at Building Better Opportunities, we help those in South Stafford and Staffordshire to gain employment, develop their skills and build their confidence and self-esteem. If you wish to discuss any of our services with our Advocates, you can either give us a call or come along to one of our drop in sessions.