Today (April 25) is National Administrative Professionals Day, an international celebration of the work personal assistants, executive assistants, team and admin assistants, receptionists, secretaries and many more do on a daily basis. As a recruitment consultancy dedicated to matching outstanding business support professionals with employers of choice across London, the UK and globally, we know
Your cover letter could be make or break when it comes to getting you a job – a good one will stand out from the crowd but so will a bad one, and not for the right reasons. The thought of writing one can be daunting and seem like too big a challenge but once you get started and with the right advice, you’ll do a great job. Here are Tiger’s top tips on how to write and set out a great cover letter that will get you noticed and hopefully get you that job.
Layout and presentation
Your cover letter needs to look neat and be appealing to read, so the layout and presentation is important. There are so many sample layouts on the internet so use one from a reliable source. It needs to include your address, the potential employer’s address, the date, the job reference (if there is one) and have a clear structure. Remember, a cover letter usually accompanies your CV, so don’t think you can just copy your CV and make it a bit longer.
Do your research
Before you start writing your cover letter, make sure you read up on the company and know exactly what the role you’re applying for involves. Look at the company website, the profiles of the people who work there and their social media pages. Ask friends and acquaintances if they know anyone who works there and pick their brains to get some inside information – networking is key every step of the way!
Different company, different letter
If you are applying for a number of different roles you will need to write a different cover letter for each role. There would be nothing worse than sending a cover letter saying ‘I would like to apply for the role at X’ and you said the wrong company because you were using the same cover letter. You may even address it to the wrong person! That would take you straight out of the running for the job. Each one needs to be distinctly individual. This goes for the role as well – if you are applying for different roles, then you can’t send the same cover letter for each one! You would be surprised by the number of cover letters that come through showing a candidate’s desire to be a PA, and then the accompanying email saying they’re desperate to get a marketing job! Think carefully before sending anything – read and re-read what you are sending.
Snappy start and finish
Don’t open with ‘I am applying for…’. They know this already and this sounds boring. Open with a strong, bold statement that will grab their attention, really sell yourself and make it clear why you’re writing. When it comes to finishing, do it quickly. Don’t ramble on, just a short statement as to why you want this job and why you think you should get it. It’s not just the start and finish that should be short and sweet – you shouldn’t be writing an essay for your cover letter, it should be something that can be read quickly and easily and immediately grab someone’s attention. Less is more!
Your cover letter should show who you are. It should portray your personality and interests and why you think you would be right for the role you’re applying for, and what you can add to the company. Think about the skills you have learnt in previous roles and how those would be valuable to the job you’re applying. You don’t need to just talk about work either – think about your hobbies and interesting things you have done out of work. Remember to keep it relevant. Yes, they want to hear about your skills and interests but not if they are completely unrelated to the role.
Likelihood is the employer will have a huge number of these to go through and you need to make yourself noticed. Your CV is just words on a piece of paper, your cover letter will add personality to these words and make them come to life. Be enthusiastic! Say exactly why you love this company and why you want to work there. If they are market leaders in their given field this could be a very good reason why you have chosen them over someone else. Do not include any negative comments about your old job or anything else, this will not reflect well on your personality.
You can ask friends or family for their advice on how to write your cover letter, or even use theirs as a guide on how to set it out and the sort of content you need to include, but don’t use it word for word. This letter is meant to convey your personality and this would not be the case if it has been written by someone else. What if you get to the next stage and are asked for an interview and the employer asks you to explain something ‘you’ve’ written about in ‘your’ cover letter – it could be very embarrassing. Of course you can get someone to proofread it and give you constructive criticism, but this should be your own work.
Try and address your letter to a named individual – this makes it much more personal than writing ‘Dear Sir/Madam’. If you don’t know who to send it to, call the company and ask for their name and job title.
If you would like any further advice, please give Tiger a call – our consultants are here to help you!