Cover Letter in 30 Minutes

Building a good cover letter for a job application is not rocket science nor should it take an age.  Do it now !Cover-Letter-Structure

  1. Read the job advertisement again looking for the one key thing they want.
  2. Get your letter structure in place – see image for a sample or search Google and choose one you like: Google Cover Letter Images
  3. Fill in and check the simple details that change for each job
    • Date
    • Contact name, company and address.
    • Job title including RE:
  4. Decide on your salutation.  Dear Sir/Madam is a little outdated now.  Ms/Mr Xxx would be better.  If you are unsure, you can use their position like “Dear Hiring Manager”.
  5. Paragraph 1 = Where you saw the job advertised  and what you are attaching
  6. Paragraph 2 = Why you want the role, why your experience means you will do well in this role. If you have a gap, explain why you will still do well in the role.
  7. Paragraph 3 = Explain why you’re looking for a job, address any special circumstances and let them know your availability. If you know you’re overqualified but are still interested, let them know.
  8. Paragraph 4 = Express interest in the position and let them know how to reach you. Be sure to include an email address as well as a phone number.
  9. Read the job advertisement again checking you have only relevant points.
  10. Force yourself to read your whole Cover letter again as a check.  You can read your cover letter aloud if it helps.

Cover Letter Checks and Tips:

  • The RE: goes before the Salutation (Dear …)
  • No paragraph indents  just a new line before each new paragraph
  • Dear Sir/Madam is generally outdated these days.  You should be able to use ear Ms/Mr …  Alternately the person’s title like “Dear Hiring Manager”
  • What you want to convey:
    • Traits that make you especially suitable for the role.
    • That you have a personal interest in the role.
    • New or special points not in your resume.
  • Short is better.  It is tempting to put in more, but short forces you to put the most relevant 1-3 points and allows the reader to read it completely.  Long means it will be skimmed and you may be passed over.
  • LinkedIn
    • Use LinkedIn as a place to keep your previous experience.
    • Put a LinkedIn link in your resume.  You could consider on your cover letter under contacts.
    • Keep your LinkedIn descriptions really short.  People will look for reasons to exclude you in long descriptions.

Find something which makes you stand out. Your cover letter only needs to get you the interview.  It only needs to answer why should we interview this person. One hook will be enough.

Don’t give up.  Each cover letter you send out has a chance of getting you the interview.  Keep sending them out.

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