The secret to writing a great cover letter
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Writing a cover letter is no different to any other kind of writing. The goal is to communicate information to an audience. In the case of a cover letter, the information is your suitability for the job, and the audience is the organisation with the opening. But how, in such a small space, do you convey this?
Show, don’t tell.
What is showing and not telling?
Too often, cover letters just contain a simple list of skills the candidate has: “I am hard-working, diligent, calm under pressure and am a creative problem solver”. Unfortunately, that is not enough. The truth is that anyone can write anything in a cover letter or on a CV. Sure, they may well get found out if they advance further in the recruitment process, or have a chance to demonstrate their skills in an interview, but they run the risk of being passed over before then on the basis of a lackluster letter. It’s a common mistake you don’t want to make.
Your cover letter needs to be persuasive, not just a rehashed version of your CV.
You need to show you have the skills you have, not just tell the employer that you have them.
If you say you’re hard working, give an example of a time you went the extra mile in a previous role.
If you say you’re creative, demonstrate it in the format or the style of the writing.
Instead of saying you work well under pressure, explain about that time when a decision had to be made under the scrutiny of a ticking clock.
Why is demonstrating your skills vital?
Cover letters go hand in hand with CVs. This fact means you don’t want to be stating the same thing twice – your CV is the place for lists of skills so your cover letter needs to serve a different purpose. While the education, work history and skills sections of your CV have the ability to impress employers, your cover letter is the place where you try to persuade and contextualise everything in the document that will sit underneath.
Finding and securing the job of your dreams involves a lot more than just writing a great cover letter. If you’d like to learn more about how KLC Recruitment can help you in your next job search, get in touch with a member of the team today.