The most effective and appealing covering letters are the ones that strike this balance, offering your ideal and most relevant skills as well as showing your desire to work for that company or employer. With this it is important that you do not use the same covering letter twice and avoid making them generic. Covering letters should always reference the company and the position you're applying for, as well as give a brief insight into what you can offer the company and how keen you are to work there.
As it is quite perilous task, here are our five top tips to writing your covering letter!
1. Keep it relevant
One of the important things about writing an effective covering letter is making sure that it is relevant. When employers look over your covering letter they are looking to match what they have advertised with what you can offer them. This means it is important that you only include what you think the employer would like to see, not everything and anything that might make you employable. Employers who receive covering letters with a brief history of an applicant's entire life is unlikely to keep the applicant in the running.
2. Rewrite each one
Rewriting each covering letter sounds tiring and a waste of time. However it is important that, by writing specific covering letters, you understand what the role demands of you and how you want to advertise yourself to the employer. Rewriting each CV is important because it requires you to study the job description and understand what the role entails. It is not unheard of for candidates to have submitted a covering letters addressed to the wrong company.
3. Keep it smart
When you're writing to an employer, this is usually the first thing they will read, so it is vital you strike the right tone. The employer is not your best friend, so be courteous and respectful. This includes using the proper way to appropriately address someone at the start and end of a letter. (Yours Faithfully if addressed to generic Dear Sir/Madam, Yours Sincerely if addressed to a person, ie. Dear Mr Smith.) If there is any element of slang, colloquialism or sniff of your application not showing the correct decorum or procedure, employers will be tempted to dismiss your application, no matter how qualified you are.
4. Spelling and Grammar
This can be an easy and common mistake to make but one that can prove fatal. It is absolutely vital that you do not submit a covering letter or CV with any spelling or grammatical mistakes. If employers see this they tend not to see a small, innocent typo, but rather a lack of care or attention which does not help anyone's employment hopes. Spelling and grammatical errors are easily done and as easily corrected so read your covering letter back through and make sure it makes sense and there are no errors before you send it off.
5. Don't undersell yourself
It is important that you do not undersell yourself in covering letters and that you give an honest and positive impression of yourself. While you shouldn't start the covering letter with 'I am the best candidate', being confident in your skills and talents will help you succeed in the application process. The thing to remember is that no one will sell your skills but you and you can't expect them to know anything about you unless you tell them. Don't be embarrassed at showing your successes and make sure employers understand why you think you would be perfect for the role.
For more advice on writing a covering letter see here