Cover letters: Your introduction to company
A cover letter has only one purpose: to encourage recruiters to read your CV. The letter gives you the chance to demonstrate that you understand the nature of the job being advertised and to show how your skills and abilities fit the vacancy perfectly.
While your CV tells the employer about you, your letter should concentrate on the position and the company. Remember to research the firm fully by visiting its website or store, using every bit of information you find to help improve your chances. The cover letter is usually your first contact with a potential employer and can make or break your chances of securing a job:
Here are a few important points to remember:
* Include a personalised cover letter with every CV you send out to outline how your experience matches the job requirements.
* Never send out standard cover letters to different employers for different positions.
* Present it in the usual letter format, keeping it short and factual.
* Tell the recruiter where you saw the job advertised and include any reference numbers.
* Refer to the CV you have attached to encourage the recruiter to find out more about what you can offer.
* Highlight what you would bring to the role.
* Explain why you want the job and how it would fit into your career plan.
* If the job is in a different sector from those in which you have previously worked, draw links between the two.
* Demonstrate any research you’ve already made into the organization.
* Include any dates when you might be unavailable for interview.
* Check that you have addressed your letter to the right person, used the correct job title and spelt their name correctly.
* Don’t mention salary at this stage. That subject should be saved for an interview.
* Never underestimate the value of the cover letter. It can increase the impact of your CV if your experience is lacking.
It can be worth sending a speculative letter to a company that you wish to work if it is not advertising vacancies.
* Begin by outlining the type of work you are seeking.
* Explain why you want to work for this organization.
* List the skills you have that might be particularly relevant.
* Ask for your CV to be held on file for any vacancies that may come up.