A complete guide to writing a cover letter

by Heat Recruitment

Writing a cover letter can be tough, but we have some good advice

Staring at a blank page? Unsure of how to write a cover letter that sells your value as a candidate? We’ve all been there. Of all the hoops that candidates must jump through in the search for the perfect job, the cover letter is one that plagues talent of every seniority when putting themselves forward for new opportunities.

Having spent hours building your CV, it can seem a little redundant to have to rewrite the same information in a cover letter. However, rather than restructuring your resume into a new format, this is your chance to tell the story that connects your experience, highlights your key skills and makes the case for why you’re right for the role.

Start with a strong hook

The first question your cover letter should seek to answer is what sets you aside from other candidates and why the hiring manager should read on. It might be particular combination of skills; perhaps your industry experience gives you a good grounding to help the business achieve its mission. Even if you’re at the start of your career with modest experience to draw from, your drive to learn and your desire in growing with the company can still put you in good stead.

Tailor your message

A personalised cover letter is a must for any candidate seeking to make a strong first impression – it shows your attention to detail and a legitimate interest in the company. However, as well as tailoring your greeting and sign off, a compelling cover letter connects the requirements and responsibilities of the job description with your skill-set and professional accomplishments. Researching the company values can also help to give your cover letter a steer in the right direction by providing an anchor for which you can align your own ambitions against.

Focus on your value

If you’re worried a hiring manager won’t take the time to acknowledge the achievements buried in your CV, this is your chance to draw attention to those key reasons. Try to keep it succinct and stick to the point – the War & Peace of “Why I am Right for The Job” will be skim-read at best. With this in mind, the main focus of the cover letter should be the value you add to the business; it should be written with their business challenge in mind – a lack of the key skills that you can offer.

Provide measurable accomplishments

The body of your cover letter is an opportunity to sell yourself, and there’s nothing like measurable achievements to reassure a prospective employer that your words are backed up by action and evidence. If you’re applying for a financial advisor role, for example, you might add that you have grown accounts by 60 per cent, while an IT position may focus more on how you’ve improved efficiencies or developed new technologies that enabled commercial gains.

Inject your personality into it

AI may be evolving fast, but robots haven’t taken over the recruitment process just yet. A hiring manager’s top priority is to find candidates with the right blend of attitude and aptitude, but they’re also eager to see the person behind the employment history. Don’t hesitate to let your personality shine through while remaining professional and polite throughout.

Looking for more advice to help you advance your career? Head to our candidate toolbox, which is full of useful hints and tips.

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