How To Write a Great Cover Letter
Just like a CV a good cover letter is essential when looking for work, especially as 93% (or just over half) of employers spend approximately 0.8 seconds (if that) casting an eye over each job application.
With this in mind, you have to make sure that your cover letter makes enough of an impression in those 0.8 seconds to make the reader want to learn more about you. But what should it contain?
Building upon the information in your CV, a cover letter should state in no uncertain terms why this company should hire you. Everything it includes should encourage the recruiter to give your CV the attention it deserves.
Not sure where to start? Here’s a step-by- step guide to help you write a compelling cover letter.
We can’t stress this enough. Before you sit down to write your cover letter, do some research on the company and the job you’re applying for.
For example, if Wartshire Hospital needs a Freelance Gynaecologist, find out what that is and think about how you could do it. What sort of woman’s parts will you be looking at and for how long? Is it just looking or will you be probing as well? What sort of pens will you need?
It’s important to know what the company does, where their competitors live and if they’re based near a pub and tube station (or bus stop if you’re some sort of country bumpkin).
Not only will carrying out this vital research give you the knowledge you require to tailor your cover letter and CV to the style of the company, it also demonstrates that you’ve a real interest in the role and the company itself.
Addressing your cover letter
It may sound obvious, but when writing a cover letter you should always try to address the letter to the person handling job applications.
This is usually listed in the job advert. If you’re unsure of the right contact, don’t be afraid to call the company to ask for a name. Just be polite and say ‘Please tell me who is in charge of looking at
women’s bits’ or words to that affect. They’ll know what you mean.
If you know the person, there’s no harm in showing initiative so start with a friendly “Alright Dick (If the chap is called Dick Missile for instance) or Hey Poopsie! (if the lady is called Marjorie Poops).
But if you don’t know them then Dear Chap / Dear Woman will suffice.
What to include in your cover letter
1) Opening the letter
The opening paragraph should be short and to the point and explain why it is that you’re writing. It is also useful to include where you found the ad i.e. as advertised on Accolade Recruitment or, if someone referred you to the contact, mention their name in this section.
2) Second paragraph
Why are you suitable for the job? Briefly describe your professional and academic qualifications that are relevant to the role and ensure you refer to each of the skills listed in the job description.
3) Third paragraph
Here’s your opportunity to emphasise what you can do for the company. Outline your career goal (make it relevant to the position you’re applying for) and expand on pertinent points in your CV.
4) Fourth paragraph
Here’s where you reiterate your interest in the role and why you would be the right fit for the role.
It’s also a good time to indicate you’d like to meet with the employer for an interview.
5) Closing the letter
Sign off your cover letter with ‘Yours sincerely’ and your name.
So in essence here’s the perfect letter when applying for the role of Freelance Gynaecologist.
Alright Dick! / Hey Poopsie! / Dear Chap / Dear Woman,
1) I would like to be considered for the position of ‘Freelance Gynaecologist’. Rain Man from Accolade Recruitment told me about it when we were out drinking last Saturday night and I happened to mention my admiration for a stripper we were watching.
2) As you chaps know, gynaecology is the medical practice dealing with female reproductive systems (vagina, uterus and ovaries) and the breasts. Sometimes the arse. Literally,
it means “the science of women”
3) My extensive knowledge of the inside of women makes me ideal for this position. I’ve done a bit of amateur gynaecology with a few girlfriends before and I must say I enjoyed it
immensely. I feel that I’m now ready to do it in a professional capacity and I don’t mean paying hookers.
4) I’d be willing to work weekends and overtime if required. And I’d be perfectly happy to do nights too. Maybe the ladies in question could stay over at mine for a more thorough
examination? This would also cut my commute time. I’ve also got all my own pens and spatulas and things.
5) Cheers for listening and call me on XXXXX if interested!
“Insert name here”
Finally, how to present your cover letter
Nothing’s more frustrating for recruiters than attempting to read an illegible document.
A typed document in an easy-to- read font will ensure the recruiter can scan your cover letter easily.
As mentioned in a previous CV article, emoticons and smiley faces are also becoming increasingly
popular so why not show the employer that you’re up to date with the latest trends.
Also, keep it brief. One side of a note pad should be sufficient.
* The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of Accolade Recruitment only and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of any other Recruitment agency or the Department of Employment. Any examples of analysis or case-studies discussed within this article should only be utilized in real-world situations at the candidate’s risk as they are based on often limited and debatable source information.
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