How to write a standout cover letter for your dream job

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Your cover letter is your first chance to make a good impression on a potential employer, so it’s important to make it count. A well-written cover letter can help you stand out from the competition and increase your chances of getting an interview.

If you’re a job seeker in Ireland, tailoring your cover letter to the Irish job market is important. Irish employers often place a high value on cover letters and use them to screen job applicants.

Although writing a cover letter might seem daunting, following a basic step-by-step formula will help you make your cover letter note a worthy build-up to your CV.

In this blog post, we’ll provide you with a step-by-step guide on how to write a standout cover letter for your dream job in Ireland. We’ll also share some top tips and advice to help you write a cover letter that will impress potential employers.

What is a cover letter?

A cover letter is a one-page document introducing you to a potential employer and explaining why you are interested in the role and the company. It is your chance to sell yourself to the employer by highlighting your skills and experience to convince them that you are the best candidate for the job.

Why is writing a great cover letter important for job seekers in Ireland?

The Irish job market is competitive; employers often receive hundreds of applications for each role. Therefore, doing everything you can to make yourself stand out from the crowd is important. A well-written cover letter can show potential employers that you are serious about the role and the company and that you have taken the time to research them. Furthermore, a cover letter allows you to tailor your application to the specific job and company. You can use your cover letter to explain why you are interested in the role and how your skills, experience and accomplishments make you the best candidate.

How to write a cover letter: A step-by-step guide

If you’re stuck and find yourself thinking about what to include in your cover letter, remember that each application should be addressed and tailored to suit the specific job you’re applying for. It’s up to you to make sure you demonstrate you’re the right fit for the right job, so be sure that you know the qualities they’re looking for because your cover letter is the perfect place to highlight that. It also shows you’ve done your homework, which is always a plus.

We understand that writing a cover letter can seem daunting, but it doesn’t have to be. Here is a step-by-step guide on how to write a cover letter that will help you land your dream job in Ireland:

Step 1: Research the company and the role.

The first step in writing a cover letter is to research the company and the role you are applying for. This will help you to tailor your cover letter to the specific job and employer. You can research the company and the role by:

● Visiting the company’s website
● Reading the job description carefully
● Talking to people who work at the company
● Searching for news and articles about the company

Step 2: Tailor your cover letter to the specific job.

Once you have researched the company and the role, you need to tailor your cover letter to the specific job. This means highlighting your skills and experience that are most relevant to the job and explaining why you are interested in the role and the company. It takes a bit of digging, but it’s worth it – Search through your own career history for specific examples of how you can prove you have what it takes to fulfil a particular role. For example, the job description might say: “This position requires an energetic person with demonstrated capacity to work in a high-pressured environment”. The keywords here are “energetic”, “demonstrated” and “high-pressured”. Telling them that you meet these essential criteria will increase your chances of an interview.

Step 3: Start with a strong introduction.

The first paragraph of your cover letter is your chance to make a good first impression. So, understanding how to start a cover letter is crucial.
● Start by introducing yourself and stating the position that you are applying for. Then, explain why you are interested in the role and the company.
● Be sure to be specific and mention something that you have learned about the company through your research.

Step 4: Highlight Your Skills & Experience

The body of your cover letter is your chance to highlight your skills and experience and explain why you are the best candidate for the job. Be sure to focus on the skills and experience most relevant to the job and mentioned in the job description.

To highlight your skills and experience effectively:
● Use specific examples of your skills and experience.
● Quantify your achievements whenever possible.
● Use strong action verbs to make your experience stand out.
● Relate your skills and experience to the job you are applying for.

What to Avoid In a Cover Letter

Here are some top mistakes to avoid in a cover letter:

Generic content: Avoid using generic content that could be applied to any job. Instead, tailor your cover letter to the specific job and company you are applying to.
Salary expectations: Avoid mentioning your salary expectations in your cover letter. This is something that can be discussed during the interview process.
Typos and grammatical errors: Be sure to proofread your cover letter carefully before submitting it. Typos and grammatical errors can make you look unprofessional.
Exaggerating your skills and experience: Your cover letter should always be in line with your CV by highlighting the most relevant aspects in relation to the position that are factually true. Be honest and truthful in your cover letter.
Being too long: On average recruiters spend 6-8 seconds looking at your CV before deciding whether you are suitable for their vacancy. Therefore it is important to make a good first impression and fast. Make sure your cover letter is no more than one page long.

Top tips for writing a cover letter

Recruit Ireland spoke with Career Consultant Paul Mullen on how to write a cover letter. Here’s what he said, “Cover letters have fallen in value. Most employers will admit they don’t read them or place little value on them. I recommend only sending cover letters when requested. Many job seekers spend hours writing letters, which, for the most part, is time wasted. Whereas I guide my clients to a formula that creates an impactful cover letter in 15 minutes.”

If you are wondering how long should a cover letter be, stick to Paul’s top cover letter tips:

● Keep your letter to one page, 250 words maximum. You should have three short paragraphs.
● Don’t start your letter “Please find enclosed a copy of my CV”, that’s how everyone else does it.
● You MUST tell the reader your motivation in the first paragraph – why you want their job OR why you want to work for their company.
● Try to write from the heart, not what you think sounds good.
● I like bullet points in the middle section which sell your suitability. The eye will be drawn to these points.
● Avoid bland content and generic phrases for example, I am a good team player.
● Knowing how to end a cover letter is most important, as the final paragraph is a sign-off. For example; I’d love the opportunity to meet in person to highlight how I can add value in this role. I’ll make myself available and work around your schedule. Look forward to chatting soon.
● Don’t be afraid to inject some personality. Remember you are trying to stand out, not just read and sound the same as everything else.

Cover Letter Example

Below is an example of a cover letter format that jobseekers in Ireland can adapt to their own:
[Your Name]
[Email Address]
[Phone Number]

Dear [Hiring Manager name],

I am writing to express my interest in the [Job title] position at [Company name]. I have been following your company for some time now, and I am very impressed with your work in the [Industry] sector, particularly the [project name]. I am confident that my skills and experience would be a valuable asset to your team, and I am eager to contribute to the continued success of your company.

In my previous role at [Previous company name], I was responsible for [List of responsibilities]. I have a proven track record of success in [List of accomplishments]. I am also skilled in [List of skills]. I am also a [List of soft skills and attributes crucial to the job].

I am interested in the [Job title] position at [Company name] because [List your skills and passion for the industry] One of the factors that really attracted me to this role is that [Aspects of the work/Company Culture].

I am confident that I have the skills and experience necessary to be a successful [Job Title] at [Company Name].

Thank you for your time and consideration. I am looking forward to learning more details about the position and company!

[Your Name]

For more on the latest news in the hiring space, check out our recruitment news section.

If you are a recent graduate or just someone seeking to explore the job market, make sure to check out the different recruitment opportunities with Recruit Ireland:

Jobs in Ireland
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