Cover Letter Essentials

Wednesday, March 12, 2014


Recruitment/HR professionals have very little time to sift through the current volume of job applications. Your CV will get a 20 second window to impress. How much time will your cover letter get? Less or even none!! Having said this, you shouldn’t ignore your cover letter. It offers a platform to inject personality into your job application. It is important to take the time to create an impactful cover letter.

Ensure your cover letter gets read – Here are a few strategies you can consider. 

(1) Include your cover letter and CV as one attachment. Two separate attachments will create more work for the recruiter. This may result in your cover letter not getting read. 
(2) Duplicate the key points of the cover letter on the body of your email. A recruiter is more likely to read your email. 

Immediate impact – It’s important to grab the attention of the reader. Most job seekers struggle here. Most job seekers are conservative and try to blend in. Your cover letter must shout - READ ME! 

Here are a few considerations. 
(1) Inject humour. 
(2) Make your introduction personal to the company. 
(3) Write from the heart. 
(4) Use a strong headline above the opening paragraph. 

Less is more – Many fall into the trap of rewriting their CV in paragraphs. Focus on 3 key points. Outline how you met the job requirements and add value. It’s important to highlight key facts and achievements. 

Bullet points – Bullet points are not normally associated with cover letters. I believe they can help in a competitive job market. Recruiters don’t have much time to read cover letters. Using bullet points can help them access the key points at the glance of an eye. 

Paul Mullan owns Career & Outplacement Firm Measurability. Services include Outplacement, Interview Coaching, Job Search, Linkedin Training, CV Writing, and Personal Branding.