Tips for writing your cover letter
When you send off your job application, you may also be asked to provide a message or cover letter. Having a good cover letter is a great way to showcase your skills to the employer, and why you’re the best candidate for the role. Here are some tips to help your cover letter stand out.
Make sure that your cover letter:
Includes your contact details.
Explains why you are well-suited for the job.
Explains what skills and ideas you can bring to the job.
Includes why you wish to work for that particular employer. Doing some research into your prospective employer always goes a long way!
Is short and concise and fits on one page at most.
We recommend that you use an existing cover letter template to ensure your formatting matches industry standards. You can find plenty online or in the Word/Pages processor.
Here are some top tips for writing an impressive cover letter.
1. Keep it relevant!
Read the job description thoroughly, and then tailor your letter accordingly. Focus on skills which relate directly to what the employer is looking for, and highlight any work experience, qualifications or personal attributes that are relevant to the role.
2. Keep it short!
Less is always more with cover letters. If an employer needs to read a long cover letter, they may only read the opening and closing paragraphs. But if your cover letter is just a few paragraphs long they are likely to read and take in all the information you’ve provided. Make sure that your cover letter never exceeds one page.
If you’re applying for multiple jobs for the same company, it’s important to make sure that your cover letter is different and relevant for each role. Employers can tell if your letter has been copied and pasted.
Your letter should be clear, concise and professional. If you’re submitting the cover letter or cover message via Patchwork Hub, then the formatting will be automatic.
If you’re attaching a cover letter as a document when applying outside of Patchwork Hub, for best practice use 1.5 paragraph spacing and a clear font in size 12. Avoid anything unnecessary such as pictures or word art. You should also make sure the layout is consistent with your CV. This will help your application stand out.
4. Crafting the opening and closing
For the opening:
If you know who will be dealing with your application, then address your letter directly to them. Their name should be listed in the job advert but, if not, have a look through the company’s website. Sometimes the job advert will say who you’ll be reporting to. You can research the name of this post holder either on the company website or LinkedIn page. If you still can’t find the name, then simply address it as Dear Sir/Madam.
Your opening sentence should explain why you are writing the letter. In this case, it would be to apply for the role that was advertised through Patchwork Hub. Always make sure you mention the name of the role you are applying for.
For the closing:
It’s always nice to include why you’re particularly interested in this company in your closing paragraph to show that you’d be a good fit for the company culture. Think about what makes you want to work for this particular employer beyond the salary. Do their values match your own? Are you attracted by their vision or mission?
How you close the letter will depend on whether you know the name of the hiring manager. If you have addressed the letter to a particular person, end your cover letter with ‘Yours sincerely’. If not, add ‘Yours faithfully’, followed by your name.
5. Talking about yourself
Your cover letter is an opportunity to elaborate on any points that you mentioned in your CV. You can also explain any gaps in your employment history. It’s important that you talk about specific skills that you have. You might want to include a short example of where you have used these in the past, but don’t get too bogged down in detail.
The purpose of your CV and cover letter is to get you through to the interview stage, where you’ll have an opportunity to go into more detail about your skills and experience.
Make sure that you have thoroughly read through your cover letter before sending it off. If you have enough time before the job closing date, leave the cover letter ‘to rest’ and come back to it a day or two later to proofread it. Not only will this help you avoid any errors, but looking over it a few times will help you to gauge the flow of your writing. Remember, you want to come across as professional, authentic and competent!
By using these tips, you should be on track to write a really impressive cover letter.