Writing a successful cover letter – From trailer teaser to block buster success

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Hire me It’s hard to change a first impression, so it’s best to get it right first time.  Your cover letter is the first thing a recruiter will see –your first chance to wow them. Its core purpose is to entice them into looking at your CV and inviting you in for an interview.

Imagine your CV is a movie of your professional life, and then your cover letter is the trailer.

The trick to writing a successful cover letter is keeping it short and sweet. Don’t rewrite everything from your CV; just include the juicy highlights from your experience and skill set that relate to the position. It doesn’t need to be any more than 5-6 short paragraphs and should never take up more than one (or two max) A4 page(s).  

It’s also crucial that you tailor each letter you write to the position you are applying. Not changing the job title or including skills that don’t match the job description will look like you haven’t put time and effort into applying for the role. You don’t have to start each letter from scratch, but taking time to edit the details to reflect the correct job is vital.

What to include?

In the first paragraph mention the role you are applying for. It’s good to include briefly why you want the role and demonstrate your passion for it. You can keep it simple and say something along the lines of ‘I wish to be considered for the role of ...I would love to be offered this opportunity because...’ However there is nothing stopping you from getting creative to help you stand out.

The second paragraph is your chance to reel the recruiter in. They want to easily identify if you will be a good fit for the position. Pick a few key points from the job description and list how you meet the criteria. Also don’t just say you are good at something give the evidence to back up the claim. Always include examples to verify your claims.

The recruiter also wants reassurance that you will stay with the company. Reiterate why you want the role and mention how it will help you reach your career goals. It’s also nice to include how you would like to grow within the company.

For your closing statement, sign off by thanking them for their time and consideration. Direct them to your CV for more information and state that you are looking forward to hearing from them.

If you follow these tips and keep it short and to the point that’s really all there is to it.

If you want to be really creative why not send in a video summarising your cover letter and CV!

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