Your cover letter or introductory note creates the very first impression you will make when applying for a job.
Without a strong cover letter to introduce yourself, you may find that your CV is rarely opened by recruiters or employers.
The focus of any cover letter is to tempt the reader in and encourage them to consider your application.
To give yourself the best chance of landing interviews, a professional persuasive cover letter is essential for every application you make.
Ideally you should always be sending your cover letter in an email to ensure that you have total control over the format and delivery of the message.
Your subject line is the deciding factor on whether your email will be opened or not; so it pays off to spend time crafting one that is compelling and eye-catching.
When recruiters look into their inbox, they are looking for one thing; a candidate who can do the job they are advertising – so give that to them in your subject line.
Your subject line should ideally be a one line summary of the most important skills you have to offer the employer in relation to the jobs you are applying for.
The following are good subject line examples;
Building personal relationships is crucial when job hunting because social skills are hugely important in the workplace.
When writing your cover letter, endeavour to find out the recruiter’s name and address them personally – it will make it much easier to connect with them.
If you cannot find the recruiter’s name on the job advert, then try scouting around the company website or searching LinkedIn.
If the name of the recruiter is still not clear; open with a friendly greeting such as;
hope you’re well”
Most recruiters receive hundreds of job applications every week, so they appreciate a short, sharp cover note that gets to the point quickly.
2-4 sentences should be enough to persuade readers to open your CV.
To ensure that your CV gets opened, you have to explain how your skills and experience match the requirements for the role.
Scan the job advert to discover what the most important candidate abilities are, and show how your previous experience equips you to perform in the role.
In particular, look to highlight any requirements that are deemed essential to the job.
Focus on what you have to offer at this stage, and not what you want from the employer.
At this stage, your cover letter is simply a means of getting the recruiter to open your CV - it’s too early to be making demands around salary, holidays and perks right now.
Save those factors for your initial conversation with the recruiter, as they are more likely to listen to what you want after they have seen your CV and learnt what you have to offer.
Round off your cover letter with a friendly salutation such as “Regards” and a smart signature which includes your name and most direct contact method (usually mobile phone for most people)
Something like the below should work well;
A professional signature will show recruiters that you are well versed in business-email etiquette and ensure they have a means of contacting you (even if they can’t open your CV for any reason).
Andrew Fennell is an experienced recruiter and founder of CV writing service StandOut CV