Top Tips On Writing a Cover Letter

Is Cover Important? How to write a cover letter?

Some recruiters don’t read Cover Letters – so if you don’t include one – no big deal. However, some recruiters will dismiss your application if you don’t have one – by default. Here are our top tips on how to write a cover letter.

From our experience in being a top job consultancy in UAE, we have seen many companies rejecting applications just because of the absence of a Cover letter. 

Recruiters don’t want to hire someone who just wants a job. They want to hire someone who really craves their role. Therefore, you don’t want your application for your dream job to be rejected, simply because you did not include a Cover Letter stating your strong interest in the role and suitability.

The purpose of a Cover Letter is to introduce yourself. Recruitment is a process, and sending your Curriculum Vitae (CV) and a Cover Letter is the first of many steps. These documents together fulfil one sole mission; to place you on the list of candidates who make it through to the next stage. That is their primary purpose.

Generic Cover Letter

Some applicants have a generic Cover Letter which they include with all of their applications. Others make slight changes when applying for different positions, however, it is still a generic Cover Letter. Including a generic Cover Letter does not do you any favours. It works against you. Sending a generic Cover Letter becomes a liability rather than an asset, creating an opposing effect. You are losing points, not gaining them. Doing this is almost as bad as not including a cover letter at all.

You must show that you are specifically applying for this job because you have:

(i)  Read the job advertisement

(ii)  Assessed that you could do the job exceptionally well, and

(iii) Have a strong desire for the job (or at least want to discuss it because it potentially looks like what you are truly after)

Tailored Cover Letter

You need to tailor your cover letter to every position you apply for. You should address each main selection criteria from the job advertisement. If you do not have this experience/qualification, then say so as it will come out anyway. It is perfectly okay to apply for jobs where you don’t meet all the selection criteria. However, if you do apply for job vacancies where you don’t meet all the selection criteria, you will need to address why you are applying and what

might compensate for your lack of experience/qualification.

The Cover Letter should not be a copy of what is in your CV. Think of yourself as a salesperson. Your CV is a brochure – people read brochures differently and look for different things in a brochure. Your Cover Letter is an effective tool for highlighting why they should not dismiss

you from the recruitment process prior to reading the CV and what to look for in the CV. At this stage, it is about avoiding exclusion.

Typically, 80% of all applications get rejected at this stage – 10% end up in the “maybe” pile and only 10% make it to the next round. You want to be in the last 10%. BUT- Don’t write a lot in the Cover Letter. Keep it short and straight- forward. The recruiter does not want to read a novel.

Cover Letter – Application

Another reason why you might want to write a tailored Cover Letter is that it makes you think about whether this job is really for you. If you decide it is not, then you are wasting your time applying.

Also, don’t just apply for multiple jobs. Most recruiters these days use software that immediately shows all the jobs you have applied for. At Job cracker, we have candidates that have applied for multiple jobs. It does not look good. If this is the number of applications sent to just us, then how many jobs have they applied for in total? This could give the impression that you are not a strong applicant. Why are you still on the market after so many applications?

It puts doubt in the recruiter’s mind.

Lastly, try to be consistent with the type of jobs you are applying for. Recruiters can often see which jobs you have applied for in the past, so they will notice if you have a scattergun approach i.e. applying to everything.

E.g. A candidate applying for the following vacancies;

– Funeral Director

– Bookkeeper

– Secretary

– Call Centre Agent

– Customer Service Officer – Sales Representative etc.

could imply again that you just want a job and what the job is, isn’t important.

Cover Letter – A separate Document?

Most of the top job consultants and recruiters try to save time. Therefore, they often go straight to reading your CV. If they see what they are looking for, they will read your Cover Letter. Not the other way around. If they don’t find what they are looking for in the CV, they will reject your application before reading your Cover Letter.

So much for your efforts in writing a great one..To ensure that your Cover Letter is read every time, you should include it as part of your CV. The recruiter will start on page one of your CV – your cover letter – and they will read it.100% guaranteed.

Things You Should NOT Write Or Do

  • Fails to address the person in charge of hiring. This information is sometimes available on the advert. However, if unsure, address it to the ‘Hiring Manager of XXX Company”, “Recruiting Team of XXX company” or make a call to figure out the name of the person recruiting. Make an effort.
  • Add a professional picture of yourself if you haven’t included one in your CV. This makes it more personal for the recruiter and the visual helps with first impressions. Choose a photo where you are smiling and look friendly. Recruiters almost only hire people they like and who they feel they can trust. After all, who wants to have a grumpy, unfriendly colleague?
  • There are no contact details listed in this cover letter. It is a good idea to include a contact number or email that is easy to find. Also, there is no need to include your street address in detail – you don’t want recruiters stalking you on Google Earth!
  • This is where you will mention the job for which you are applying. It only needs to be 1 to 2 sentences in length. Complaining about other recruitment processes is a reflection of character and potential employers will view this as negative.
  • You may think you have excellent references, but that is up to the recruiter to make this conclusion. Your job is to provide facts and for the recruiter to make conclusions based on these facts. Besides, it is too early to mention references – these checks are usually the final part of the process.
  • Recruiters are not interested in hearing self-praise. Instead, give examples where you have proven your skills and abilities.
  •  There is no mention of what position is being applied for here! Recruiters will not want to spend time reading this.This does not assist the recruiter. You are a salesperson. Tell the recruiter exactly why you are potentially suitable for the role.
  •  There are no excuses for spelling mistakes. Always do a spell check and read through your cover letter again to make sure it is perfect. You should have at least a “4 eyes policy”. Get someone else to read it over before submitting the application
  • Ensure that the position you are applying for is correctly stated. Listing an incorrect position demonstrates lack of attention to detail.The applicant comes across as selfish, looking for a job that suits their wants, and criticising their previous employer in the process.

Things You Might Want To Include

  • Ensure that contact details are easy for the recruiter to find. Acknowledging the nature of the job being advertised and high- lighting the capability and interest to succeed shows you have taken the time to read the job ad.
  • You will make a great first impression on paper if you start with a positive attribute or accomplishment. ‘Confident’ is your opinion… Instead, say “I have 6 years’ experience in B2B sales selling tangible products such as…” Stick to the facts.
  •  ‘Adept’ is your opinion. It is a conclusion for the recruiter to make. Your bullet points highlighting your experiences in the example below should make the recruiter come to the same conclusion themselves.
  • Showing proven and qualitative success has a lot more impact than just saying you have X number of years of experience.It is for them to make the conclusion, not you.
  • Tell them why you are interested in the company. Make them feel special. Tell them something that is different from all the other generic Cover Letters they will be receiving.
  • Hiring Managers will quite often wonder why you are seeking new employment. Be upfront about this, especially if it is outside of your control. They’ll appreciate it.
  • Accomplishments are great, but the company would also like to know how you can use your accomplishments to benefit them. Tell them what you can do for them to move them forward.
  •  Stating your availability for the interview and to start will also be appreciated. Sometimes there is a need for an immediate start.
  •  Thank the person who will be reading your Cover Letter for their time.

Cover Letter Checklist

Follow this easy checklist to help you write your winning Cover Letter: Setup

  • Use font size 12
  • Use an easy type to read e.g. Arial or Helvetica
  • Integrate the Cover Letter into your CV – only submit one document.
  • Introduction
  • Include your contact details
  • Include the company’s details
  • Reference number of the job advertised
  • Address the Cover Letter to the specific person, if that information is available. If not, address the Cover Letter to the ‘Hiring Manager’
  • Body
  • Express why you are interested in the position
  • Explain how you can benefit the company (bullet points are fine)  Demonstrate your expertise by using industry specific language
  • Include all information that is requested in the job advertisement (e.g. Availability – especially for part time positions or roles that require outside of normal working hours, expected salary)

At Job Cracker we help our candidates with their job needs. Our company is designed to serve our candidates better. We trust that it will make us the top job consultancy in the Middle east. We help our candidates with tailoring their CV and Cover letter as per the job description.

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