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How to write the perfect cover letter

Ah, the dreaded cover letter. No one enjoys writing them, and they can seem time-consuming, but rest assured it's worth putting the time into, and they do get read. Think of the cover letter as the difference between winning an interview or not, as quite often, it is the deciding factor.


Put yourself in the shoes of your hiring manager. They get the chance to see what candidates have to say for themselves in three to four paragraphs. We recommend ensuring it’s easy for the reader and be mindful they will be sifting through quite a few, so make it count.


The cover letter offers plenty of opportunities to impress, put to rest any worries about your capabilities or experience and show some character to distinguish yourself from the other candidates. If you’re starting your job search, read on for the best format to follow and top tips to writing the perfect cover letter.


The Cover letter template


Dear [Hiring Manager’s Name] / To whom it may concern,

The first paragraph should be your punchy introduction. It should explain why you want the job, where you found the posting and a bit about who you are. Make this stand out if possible with some memorable details, avoiding the use of any generic messaging.


The second paragraph should address the job description and attributes asked for in the posting. Explain relevant experiences you have had and elaborate on your CV without repeating anything they can already view on there. Include the highlight examples of your working background, where you excelled in doing what they’re asking for in the role. Don’t be afraid to blow your own trumpet here and use facts and numbers to back up your claims linking back to what you can do for them.


The third paragraph can be about the future. What you are aiming to achieve and why you feel the employer is a match for you and your aspirations. If you have anything missing in your CV or a lack of required experience, you can address that here unapologetically with your ambition to reach your goals.


The final paragraph should thank the employer for considering your application and sign off that you would greatly appreciate an interview opportunity. 


Complimentary close / Yours sincerely,


Signature


Top Tips to writing a great cover letter


  1. Do your research.


Make sure you know as much background information on the employer as possible. Go beyond the job listing, research them online, and find names and what would resonate with their ethos and brand. You will undoubtedly make an impression if you mention something related to their future or present work that isn’t mentioned in the job description.



  1. Write a new letter from scratch for each job.


The temptation to pull out a ‘here’s one I made earlier by removing the business name and a few sentences is difficult to resist, we know. But avoid doing this at all costs, they’ll be able to tell when it sounds like a batch email and making it specific is what will get you one step closer to landing the perfect job. Use the format template above if you get stuck, and by all means, include the same stats and wording you know that works on previous letters, but start afresh every time.


  1. Be careful not to point out your inexperience.


Now, this is touched on in the template, but that doesn’t mean you should even bring it up. The only time where perhaps you should is if the role might seem unrelated to your experience. It is your job in the letter to convince them that the transferable skills are very much there. Sometimes it can be easy when writing in prose to give too much information and start shedding light on your doubts or areas that they don’t need to know about. Keep every sentence focused on a point as to why you are worth their time and investment.



  1. Add numbers and stats where relevant.


The proof is often in the numbers, not the pudding. For many industries, you will need to showcase how you present data. They will expect you to have some recordings of your own success stories. This doesn’t mean you have to take screenshots and provide robust evidence, but make sure you communicate the impacts you’ve made in an easily digestible way.



  1. Match the tone of voice of the employer.


Try to make sure the letter isn’t too formal for the job type and never be too informal. Match the tone and style of the company by reading through their website copy and looking at their social media beforehand. By doing step 1, you will get their feeling for their voice in your head and be able to mirror this slightly when writing about yourself.



  1. Go easy on the enthusiastic adjectives and language.


By all means, mention that you are an enthusiastic employee and show your passion for your work but keep the overly gushy language to a minimum. Remember Step 5, and you should keep a pleasant tone without sounding desperate or over the top.



  1. Avoid creating a carbon copy of your CV.


You will need to touch on areas within your CV and expand on questions you think they might have after reading about your experience. Explain your working background in a knowledgeable way picking out the impressive parts that couldn’t fit on your CV. But try not to fall for the trap of using the same wording and ask yourself, would they already know this after reading my CV, to keep it fresh.



Now you have all the knowledge you need to write that perfect cover letter. All you need now is a recruiter. Get in touch with us at: info@brsjobs.co.uk


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