Job Hunt Tips #7 – Cover Letter

 28 Mar 2017

Should you even have a Cover Letter in 2017?
 
In the days gone by most people would have dipped their pen into their ink pot on their lovely hand crafted oak desk with a fire crackling away in the background before they began to write their cover letter to company that they wanted to work for.  No doubt, if written well it would have been well received and potentially help the author in securing a start or an interview.  To be honest, I have no idea when the cover letter came about but one thing is for sure for it to have any affect these days it has to be written extremely well.
 
By this I mean that it has to have a purpose and the author must know its exact purpose before they start out.  Personally, on only one occasion has the presence of a cover letter actually helped me land a job (that I know of), how many times has it worked the opposite way, however, I can only guess.  Essentially, you want to limit your word count (the average applications received for a job in the UK is 118) as the reader, either a hiring manager or recruitment consultant will have to read an awful lot of letters / CV’s and if your letter reads longer than the length of the page then in all honesty it will probably get ignored.  With that being said, please don’t be lazy and send your standard CV that you send to every job out with a cover letter that highlights why you are suitable for that particular job.  By this I mean that if it is on your Cover Letter then it should be on your CV as well (See Tip #3). 
 
You really want your cover letter to do a few things:
  1. Allow you to demonstrate your written communication skills in a concise manner;
  2. Demonstrate your knowledge of the position by describing briefly what in your opinion an ideal “insert your dream job title here” should do;
  3. Elaborate on how you have did the above in a previous position, again keep this concise and to the point;
  4. Show that you are unique.  That means no “I look forward to hearing from you.” nonsense that everyone writes. Instead come up with something different like “I appreciate that you are busy so I thank you for reading this letter and I understand if you cannot reply.”
 
Even following the above advice I cannot guarantee that your cover letter will be read or will make any difference to your applications. If there is a small chance that it can help your application then surely you can’t ignore it even if it sets you aside from other lazy applicants that never bothered then go for it.
 
Whatever you do keep it to the point; don’t go crazy as if it is an introduction to a book of your life.  If you have had success with your own brand of cover letter then let me know I’d be keen to hear about what works for you and what doesn’t.
 
Good luck on the hunt.

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