Your CV is looking polished and now you want to start applying for suitable positions.
Where to from here?
Start by constructing a Cover Letter.
You should always send a cover letter to accompany your CV – unless the job advert specifically states otherwise, or you are filling in an online application.
Your cover letter is an opportunity to give the recruiter a brief glimpse of the potential success you bring with you. Your skills, experience, personality and communication skills – first impressions are key so be honest, genuine and professional.
1) Start with a warm and professional greeting:
This person is considering hiring you, so catch and keep the reader’s interest. Your opening should encourage them to think of you as someone they’d like to work with.
If they have stated their name in the advert, then make use of that, for example:
“Dear Mr. Smith,” or “Dear Lisa,”
If there is no name, then try:
“Dear H.R. Manager,” or “Dear Recruiter,”
Please avoid using generic statements like “to whom it may concern”.
2) Then get to the point:
Your cover letter should be no longer than one page, split into 2 or 3 paragraphs. Be both concise and specific, let the employer know why you’re contacting them and highlight what precise skills and qualities make you a good candidate for the job. It’s a good idea to match your experience and skills to the specified job requirements as closely as possible.
As an example:
“I would like to apply for the position of Head of Advertising you recently posted. I am passionate about advertising and entered the world of printing and advertising as an apprentice. Over the course of my 22-year career, I’ve developed a skill set directly relevant to the advertised role you are hiring for.
Having been involved in press, print and through-the-line advertising, I gained experience in all the different print techniques and am fully up to date on all the older and more modern printing techniques. This has provided me with in-depth project, business, communication, leadership, strategic and critical thinking skills.
3) Your closing paragraph:
Illustrate your enthusiasm for getting the position and your availability. Then conclude with your name and contact details:
“I believe that my personal attributes and qualifications will be an asset to your organisation. Attached you will find my Curriculum Vitae for your consideration. I am available for an interview immediately, and am able to start on 1 May 2021 as required.
Mr. T. Davids
087 xxx 0000
4) Check your information:
Before you send, take one last look at the job description.
Review grammar and spelling several times – please check and double check your spelling, it is critical that you do not make errors. This will create a bad impression with the recruiter and call into question your attention to detail, accuracy and professionalism.
Did you address all of their criteria in your cover letter?
If you were the person hiring for this position, would you hire you?
Does your information align with job requirements?
5) Useful tips:
Do not copy and paste your cover letter, tailor a different cover letter for each position.
Avoid repeating word-for-word the information that is already in your CV.
Include keywords from the job advert where possible – this is especially important to avoid being rejected by the latest screening technology.
Make it clear that you are enthusiastic about the position.
Be clear and professional.
Our next article will deal with the application process.