They key purpose of a Cover Letter is to introduce & persuade. It should be a highly targeted & succinct business communication, not an essay overloaded with buzz words. An easy way to disengage a Recruiter &/or Hiring Manager is to submit a Cover Letter that is too longwinded. Such a letter can easily create a negative perception of your job application right from the get go. So if your Cover Letters are everlong or maybe even ocean size, it’s time you get back to basics to ensure your competition is outshined. Here are some basics you should consider.

E is for Evaluate – firstly evaluate if the application requires a Cover Letter because not all applications do & your time is precious! If a Cover Letter is required, take the time to evaluate the role & understand the big ticket items pertaining to the job requirements. Every role has at least 3 big ticket items. Make a list and if you’ve got 6 or 7 written down, evaluate it again until you get the top 3. If you try to address 6 or 7 criteria (without being specifically asked to do so) chances are your Cover Letter will end up everlong.

V is for Value proposition – think hard about the value you’ve brought to similar roles, specifically with regards to the 3 big ticket items & include 1 awesome example for each which describes your previous achievements pertaining to them.

E is for Establish your brand – This is where you need to get confident, enthusiastic & believe that you are great. When you know it & are excited about it others will feel it too. Many people find it hard to talk themselves up but remember you are an individual, you are great and there’s things you can bring to the role that make you an exceptional candidate. Identify those things & if you’re having trouble with it speak to people that you know and trust – they are your confidants & they can help. It may also help to look to the Professional Profile on your Resume (that crucial “elevator pitch” which should be at the top of Page 1 of every Resume) & extract from it poignant points in relation to the job you’re applying for.

R is for Reason – describing (briefly) why you want to work for this particular business in this particular role can be a powerful tool in gaining return communication from the hirer. It gives you the opportunity to make them feel good about their brand whilst displaying your initiative to invest time in understanding their business & how your motivations align. Obviously there is only so much you can find out before meeting with them but using your initiative up front can only help to create a positive perception of your application.

L is for Language – think about the Company you’re applying to. If it’s a creative business then the use of (for example) hash tags, @tags and quirky language may work for you but if it’s a conservative business then align your words towards that style.

O is for Optimise your close – many people finish a Cover Letter with something along the lines of “I hope to hear from you soon.” Ho-hum! You can tactfully set the stage for a follow up & thereby again show your initiative & confidence. Don’t be afraid to provide a date when you will follow up the application & state the method you will use. But whatever you do, don’t miss that follow up!

N is for Naming the position – simply name the position in your subject heading and if a job reference number was provided in the advert, make sure to include it.

G is for Grammar – sound language skills are a pre-requisite for every role so make sure your grammar is perfect. Don’t just rely on F7! The net holds a wealth of information on grammar essentials. And once you’ve written your letter, read it aloud to yourself & ask for a peer review where possible.

Horizon Recruitment Solutions is an expert provider of Cover Letter creation & detailing services. Our knowledge has been gained by over 16 years recruitment industry experience in both internal and agency recruitment roles. Whether you need just a few pointers on making your Cover Letter exceptional or if you simply don’t have the time to create a Cover Letter that outshines the rest, contact us for a confidential & helpful discussion.

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