A cover letter can be a very effective tool in separating you from other candidates. It should be used as a snapshot of who you are and why you should get the job. It acts as a precursor to you resume, and should give the recruiter another reason to read it.
So how do you design an effective cover letter? The experience of our expert consultants shows that there a few rules to abide by to make sure you are maximising the impact of your cover letter.
1. Be brief
A cover letter should always be less than one page. Anywhere from half to three-quarters of a page should be enough. It should not repeat your resume or LinkedIn profile; it should boost it, and make the recruiter more excited to read your resume.
2. Tailor your cover letter
Generic cover letters are useful to make sure you have a solid base and understanding of your personal strengths. However, it is much more advantageous to litter your cover letter with keywords specific to the job advertisement. These small changes will mean you resonate highly with the recruiter – they wrote the ad, so those words will strike a chord in their brain that you are what they’re looking for.
3. Use it to make a good first impression
Make sure your cover letter has accurate contact details, and that there are no spelling or grammatical errors. A cover letter is typically your first online impression on a recruiter. Mistakes show a lack of attention to detail, and even a lack of interest in the position. Also ensure that your name and contact details are at both the top and bottom of your cover letter. This will increase the likelihood that the recruiter will remember who you are, making this a powerful retention tool.
4. Highlight your qualifications and experiences
Using keywords to describe your strengths is useful, but unless it is being matched with how you acquired those skills and why this makes you right for the job, it is largely ineffective. Make sure to associate your strengths with qualifications and experiences to create a more complete picture of WHY you’re the best candidate for this particular role.