Increase your chances of getting an interview
The points to remember when writing your cover letter are:
- Address the cover letter to the right person (as specified in the job advert).
- Include your address and contact information.
- Reference to the job position you are applying for.
- Reference to where you saw the advertisement.
- Include a copy of your CV (unless the advertisement states otherwise) and say you’ve done this.
- Make reference to experience, qualifications or skills you have that match any special requirements of the role as mentioned in the job advertisement.
- Keep your cover letter brief and to the point.
Here is an example cover letter for the post of Legal Secretary:
Sometimes you’ll want to apply for a position where you don’t have the ideal experience that your recruiter is looking for. In that case, you may want to word your cover letter differently. You’ll want to admit up front that you don’t have what they want, but explain what you do have, and convince them that you’re still worthy of consideration. For example:
NB: If the person in charge of the vacancy is a lady and the job advertisement specifies whether the person to write to is a Miss, Mrs or Ms, obviously you can use the correct/preferred title. Otherwise, use Ms. which is universal. If the job advertisement does not specify who is in charge of recruiting for the vacancy, address your letter ‘Dear Sir or Madam’.
More cover letter tips
- If you’ve got a good connection at the place of work, make use of it. Casually drop the name into your letter – for example, “Your Corporate Partner James Irwin was kind enough to let me know about the position of Legal Secretary that you are currently recruiting for, as he thought it may be of interest to me“.
- Avoid just regurgitating what’s in your CV. Your cover letter has a specific role – to link your CV to the job advert – use it for that and remember, if you don’t give it enough time, it may land in your prospective employer’s bin.
- Use assertive language. For example, the cover letter above states “To get in touch to discuss my application…” rather than “If you would like to get in touch”. It also closes with “I look forward to hearing from you soon” rather than “I hope to hear from you”. The language used here is telling the reader what they will do next, rather than giving them a choice in the matter, and is far more likely to be successful.