Cover Letter Templates Used Well, Can Help You Snag A Job!
So you’ve used a job application template, crafted what you think is a good curriculum vitae and need a job asap. What else do you need before you start applying for jobs? A great cover letter can make or break your application!
Why Do You Need A Cover Letter?
Cover letters are a great tool for you to highlight details and information that you want to draw to the attention of the recruiter and demonstrate that you are a perfect match for the role.
Always address your application and therefore your cover letter to the person listed on the job advertisement as the contact person. If there is no one listed, then you can either contact the company and ask for the name of the contact person, or you can address it to The Recruiter for the role of xyz. Pay attention to the address, the company name and the name of the person to whom your addressing, particularly if you are doing multiple applications to different jobs. There is nothing worse as a recruiter than receiving an application that has a different organisation’s name, address, or recruiter. It shows that you are desperate in applying for jobs, and that you don’t demonstrate attention to detail and have not taken care with your application for their advertised role. It’s highly likely you won’t even get more than a cursory glance in that case.
Most advertised jobs will have a job description or other material that is available to tell you about the job. There will be competencies or skills identified in the documentation. The cover letter is where you can demonstrate to the recruiter that you have these competencies and give brief examples of your abilities. (I say brief because you will have gone into more detail in your actual resume – you merely want to gain their attention in the cover letter and get them to read your resume in detail). You can use examples from the My CV Writing Skills Checklist to help you craft relevant examples.
You should try to keep your resume cover letter samples to no longer than 2 pages (unless a word or page limit has been specified in the application pack – then you need to follow the instructions given). This means that you need to pick the top 2 or 3 examples that demonstrate your capacity to undertake the duties of the role and then note that more information and examples are found in your attached resume.
Be upfront – Address issues in your cover letter that you know the recruiter is likely to ask
Another good use of cover letters for resumes is that you can get on the front foot and answer questions you know the recruiter may be asking like:
- “Why has there been a gap in your employment?”
- “Why are you leaving the xyz company?”
- “You live in a different State, why are you applying for this role?”
- “This job pays less than you are already on, why are you applying”.
You don’t have to go into too much detail, but just enough so that the recruiter is not left wondering and leave you off the shortlist. Always try to put a positive spin on these statements wherever possible. E.g. if there has been an employment gap due to losing a job – you might like to say in your cover letter “I was retrenched in 2013 due to the economic downturn. However, during the past x months (or years) I have focused on increasing my skills in the area of communication and teaching and have been proactively volunteering at the local school where I take small groups of students through their reading. In addition, I have joined the P&C and contribute to the group and assist with their events”.
If you have had a period of illness, it might be best to be up front and say something like “I have had a short gap in employment due to illness. However, I have now been cleared to work, and am eager and enthusiastic to get back into the workforce. During my time off, I have been able to spend quality time with my family and enhanced our communication skills. I have demonstrated that I am able to come up to speed with changes to legislation and policies quickly, and I believe by maturity and life skills would be a great asset to your company”.
Always end your cover letter by saying that you are eager to discuss your application further, and can be contact at their convenience on (give your best phone number).
I’ve said this before, but I can’t stress it enough! Make sure that you have a professional voice mail message on the phone number that you have given the recruiter. The recruiter is looking at you the applicant very closely from the way that you have proof read your application (i.e. no typos) to whether you have a professional or a really silly message bank. Make sure you stack the odds in your favor – at least have a professional message bank while you are job hunting – you can go back to silly later if you want to.
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