How to write the perfect cover letter

Writing a cover letter might seem like a daunting exercise – how to summarise how perfectly suited you are to a job on one page?! – but this quick checklist will help your CV get to the top of the pile.

  1. Do NOT use the same cover letter for more than one job

Every employer can spot a mass-produced cover letter a mile off and instantly dismiss your CV, no matter how well-suited you are for the job.

It’s fine to keep in a couple of lines about how great you are at multitasking, or introducing yourself, but the majority of the content should be tailored to each individual job.

It might sound unbearably time consuming, but it will pay off in the end – promise!

2. Read and re-read the job description

By getting to grips with the job description and what they’re really looking for you can make sure your cover letter is tailored to the job being offered.

If they say you’ll be using CMS and need to be an SEO expert make sure you’ve demonstrated each of these skills in your cover letter, to show that you really are the candidate they are looking for.

3. Make sure you refer back to the company throughout your letter

I’ve seen seriously impressive candidates instantly dismissed at work for not mentioning why they would be right for our company in particular.

It’s all very well saying that you spent a year assisting David Cameron himself, but if you’re applying to be a vet they probably won’t be very impressed. However, if you point out the excellent interpersonal skills it has given you that will help you when dealing with worried owners, it will seem much more relevant to the job.

4. Be selective

You only have a page to sell yourself (and definitely stick to a page at all costs) so make sure you’ve been ruthless when it comes to cutting anything unnecessary from your cover letter. Your Year 9 spelling bee award might be your pride and joy, but it doesn’t necessarily need mentioning in every application.

5. Double and triple check 

Check, check and check again. Then get someone else to read it through as well. A simple spelling mistake could cost you an interview – particularly if it’s in an industry such as journalism. It sounds obvious, but when you’re applying for ten or more jobs spell checking can go out of the window in favour of getting applications done as quickly as possible. Just remember, quality is better than quantity, and it’s more likely to secure you a job!

Good luck with your applications!

What tips have helped you write the perfect cover letter?

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