By Zoe Oldham, Director Recruitment at Daryl Upsall Consulting
One of the common candidate questions is around what to put in a cover letter. Now, I think everyone would agree that this is not always the most fun task to have to do in order to apply for your next dream role and there is some debate as to whether this is an outdated practice that is too time intensive.
However, cover letters form an important part of a recruitment process and are a great way to outline your experience and your motivation for the role, so make it a labour of love.
So, I thought it might be helpful we shared some of tips on what to include in a cover letter. Now, I know I am starting with a ‘do not rather than a do’, but I think this is the simplest rule to follow with cover letters:
HOW TO WRITE AN OUTSTANDING COVER LETTER
- DO NOT WRITE A GENERIC COVER LETTER. I know if you are actively looking for a job it can be very time consuming to write a cover letter and you might think that no-one will read it but I promise that they do get read.
- Make sure you tailor the letter to the vacancy, – not just changing the subject in the first line but throughout ensuring that it is clear you are outlining your experience as relevant to this role and this organization.
- Highlight what has driven you to apply for this particular role in the organization. Why are you passionate about the cause, the role, the organization? This might seem obvious, but it is something that is sometimes gets overlooked.
- Refer to the work of the organization, demonstrating that you are familiar with their work and have researched what they do.
- Don’t overdo the length, it should be no more than two pages but there are no hard and fast rules here.
- Within the cover letter, outline your experience as relevant to the responsibilities of the role. Ideally, you will meet most of the requirements to the role, however, if you do have gaps, outline your transferable skills and show the organization what value you can bring to them.
- If there are gaps in your employment timeline, explain it, to avoid the wrong assumptions being made.
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