The cover letter is your first proper opportunity in the recruitment process to really distinguish yourself – so it is crucial that you make the strongest possible impression. Daunting, when you know that the decision maker will be reading hundreds of similar letters.
To help you stand out, we have compiled below the essential elements of a successful cover letter. Follow these simple tips and you’ll be on top of the pile.
Before writing a single word, find out as much as possible about both your target company and the role you are applying for. If you can identify the company’s current pain points, you can use the letter to assert how you will use the role to help the company overcome them. Your research will also help you achieve a writing tone (hyper-formal, casual, chatty) that most closely reflects the company’s culture.
Engage the reader immediately with a punchy, energetic opening sentence stating why you are made for this role and why it is exciting to you. Be direct. Be dynamic.
Absolutely address your letter to a person – if not on the job offer, you should be able to find the name of the relevant person through social media or on the company’s website. If it proves impossible to find this out, “Dear Madam/Sir” will be fine.
Demonstrate the added value you offer
Explain how you will use the role to resolve problems the company is facing. Draw examples from your experience to back up how you have previously done this or how you will draw on your skillset to do this.
Let your enthusiasm shine
Employers in the insurance and financial services sectors are looking for people who really want the job. Use plenty of motivated, energetic language to impress beyond doubt your keenness and ‘can do’ personality. Balance your language carefully to ensure you remain professional and authentic.
Short and sweet
Keep your cover letter short and relevant. Keep it to as under a page as possible: half a side of A4 would be ideal.
Don’t rehash and repeat vast chunks of your CV but instead focus on a few key elements of the role that speak to your expertise and experience – so where you will add the most significant value.
Don’t try to bring the funny
Humour often falls flat so avoid trying to be funny. Instead, aim for a professional, succinct and positive tone.
Help the reader! Use a clear font that is easy to read (eg Arial or Helvetica). Employers wade through hundreds, so make it digestible at a glance.
To help you, this structure works successfully for our candidates:
- Paragraph 1: Succinctly explain why you are contacting them.
- Paragraph 2: Describe your professional and academic qualifications that qualify you for the role, ensuring you are covering the skills and experience required by the job description.
- Paragraph 3: What you will do for the company, including your career goals and specific relevant achievements from your CV.
- Paragraph 4: Embed/reiterate your interest in the role and why you will be the perfect fit and express your hope to meet at interview.
If you need examples and further guidance about writing the perfect cover letter, or help with any other aspects of your job search call our friendly and helpful team today on 01483 668700 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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