Write a Cover Letter That Stands Out With These 8 Easy Steps
Applying for jobs can often be hard in itself but cover letters make the process that bit more difficult. With the current economy, the job application process has become even more competitive so you really need to pull out your A game with a cover letter that’s worth remembering! You won’t be the first to struggle on your cover letter and you probably have a lot more to say than you think. To make the process easier we’ve come up with some easy steps to make sure your cover letter stands out from the crowd!
1. Don’t reuse old past cover letters
When writing your cover letter a lot of employers are looking for your personal touch to shine through. You want to make it personal to that specific job role and explain how you will fit into their company perfectly. Using an old one won’t give you the edge that you need due to it most likely being too generic and employers are smart enough to work out if it’s one you’re reusing. Sure, you can use a couple of the same lines if it’s what you want to say but don’t overdo it. The extra effort could take you a long way!
Do – Personalise your cover letter to match the job role and company. You can even look up the company values and use these within your letter to show you’ve done your research.
2. Don’t be afraid to use a template
Most people will find a template to base their letter on and it’s okay for you to do the same! If you see one that appeals to you, you can take that and make it your own. It’ll make the process way easier and at least you’ll know that you’re doing it properly. It’s often a good idea to go for a rather basic template that gives you a clue on what you’re doing before you make it personal. That way there’s a lot of changes you can make to ensure it’s different from others. The templates are there for a reason so don’t be afraid to make use of them!
Do – If you’re applying for a specific job role you can even find templates online that will focus on the specific skills they’re looking for. This could help you stand out even further.
3. Don’t use ‘to whom it may concern’
Something you’ll be told a lot by career advisors is to not use that generic opening in your cover letter! As talked about earlier, it’s just not very personal (at all!). The best way is to use the name of the person you’re writing to with ‘Mr’ or ‘Mrs’ in front. That way you’re writing directly to the person and not whoever might pick it up. If you can’t find the name of who you’re writing to you can always try including the head of the department for even just ‘Dear (insert company name)’. Anything is better than ‘To Whom It May Concern’. Avoid at all costs.
Don’t – Use generic openings, always address who you’re speaking to directly.
4. Don’t be afraid to go beyond your CV
When you’re writing what experiences you’ve had, it’s a good idea to describe what you got out of them. For example, include the types of skills you got out of the role, like leadership, or communication, or even what you learned from experience. And when you’ve noted these, make sure to tailor these to the job you’re applying for. Explain how this experience makes you perfect for the job. It’s all about what you can show for yourselves so don’t be hesitant to show what you can do and the skills you’ve achieved.
Don’t – Repeat what you’ve already written in your CV. They don’t want to read the same thing over and over again!
5. Don’t just list what the job will do for you
Of course, this job might open doors for you, but the company already knows that or you wouldn’t be applying. Don’t focus as much on what the company can do for you, focus more on what you can do for them. How will they benefit by bringing you on to the team? You’re really trying to sell yourself when writing your cover letter so remember that! You need to focus on what you bring to the table – that’s what they really care about!
Do – Write to the requirements of the job. Make sure you reference towards skills and achievements that show your capability to the employer.
6. Don’t apologise for any experience you don’t have
You may lack a couple of things they’re looking for but that doesn’t mean you’d be any worse at the job. It’s much better to focus on what you do have, rather than what you don’t. You want to impress them, so even if you’re not so experienced in a couple of areas, make sure to tell them more about the areas where you are. It’s understandable to have the urge to excuse yourself, plenty of people do it. But it’s much better if you don’t.
Don’t – Focus on what you lack, always focus on what you’ve got and your ability to learn new skills quickly!
7. Don’t write excessive amounts
Most cover letters are usually about a page long and there’s a reason for that. If your cover letter is too long you might find you are just babbling and that isn’t what an employer is going to be looking for – remember to keep it to the point! Include the important details and make sure you’re not just writing for the sake of it. Keeping it short and sweet will help with this.
Don’t – Overcompensate by writing too much, employers want to see that you can be concise and focused.
8. Don’t end with a weak finish
Like with other parts of the cover letter it’s easy to be traditional. We know you’ve all been tempted to write the typical “I hope to hear from you soon” line but this isn’t what employers want to see. You can only imagine the number of times they’ve seen that written on a cover letter so try and make yours a little more interesting. End it by highlighting your enthusiasm for the company and what you would bring to them. That way those little details will stick in their minds. Adding something meaningful and unique that brings your personality out is always good too – it doesn’t have to always be so formal (depending on the job you’re applying for of course!).
Don’t – Send off your cover letter without checking for spelling and grammar mistakes, these will let you down.
And there you have it! All the info you need to create the perfect cover letter. If you follow these steps you’ll be on your way to success. We know cover letter writing can be difficult but hopefully, we’ve changed that for you – if you need any extra help, contact us today. Good luck!