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What Should I write in a Covering Letter?

You may well ask yourself why write a cover letter at all in today’s technologically driven work environment.  However a covering letter gives you another opportunity to enhance your chances of being selected for an interview and to further tailor your application more closely to the vacancy being advertised. 

A cleverly written cover letter (clear, concise and relevant) can tick all the job criteria boxes before the recruiter has even read your CV.  Although if it’s well crafted it will entice the reader to want to read your CV. 

Research & Read

Take the time to read all the information available for the vacancy, the job advert, job description and any instructions on how to apply.  Use bullet points in the main body of the letter to demonstrate your fit to the job criteria (Qualifications, skills, knowledge and experience etc).

It’s essential to research the company’s website as this will give you insightful information about the organization's values, operating principles and their vision.  It will also give you a good feel for the corporate culture and whether indeed it’s a place you want to work.  In turn this helps you genuinely demonstrate your attraction to the job and the company, which you’ll need to include as part of the introduction.  

Interesting Introduction

You need to grab the reader’s attention with an interesting opening introduction.  Make sure you relate this to the role and try to link your introduction with any current news or affairs in this sector. Recruiters read thousands of applications you need to make yours unique.         
Ensure the reader knows who you are professionally and what you can bring to the role at a glance.  For example, “Holder of CIM Professional Diploma with extensive experience of managing large scale client events within time and budget.

Key Skills & Experience

Once you’ve read all the information mentioned above (Job advert, job description, etc.) then match your skills and experience to the essential requirements of the vacancy.
Highlight what you can bring to the role using bullet points.  You need to be able to demonstrate how you have applied these skills, not just provide a list of behavioural competencies.

Positive Close

It may be slightly out of your comfort zone to presume you will get the opportunity to meet and discuss in more detail your career history. However, be confident that you have the skills, knowledge and experience they are looking to hire.  Be bold and finish with the expectations of getting a response and an invite to interview.

Contrary to mixed opinions on the length of CVs it’s almost universally agreed that a covering letter should be a maximum of one page.  As you would spend time tailoring your CV for every application it’s essential you write a fresh and new cover letter every time you apply for a vacancy.  The body or content may not vary too much if you are applying for very similar roles and within the same sector but be careful to proof read thoroughly before sending out.