Your CV covering letter provides the first impression that the company’s hiring team will have of you as a potential team member and as a possible skilled contributor to the company’s growth and goals. You can achieve this impression by presenting a well-structured and concise snapshot of your relevant skills and experience, as well as key features of your interests outside of the work domain.
How to Write a Cover Letter for a Job Application
The covering letter must be structured to show your understanding of the position’s requirements, your relevant skills and past experience, and how you see yourself providing value to the company. It must highlight your experience and accomplishments in the position’s field and in other areas that you desire to develop into, emphasising your key strengths and appropriate training and background. Brevity and clarity are essential to present a synopsis of the CV itself without being excessively “wordy” or a mere summary of the CV. The letter must show appreciation for the number of CVs that the hiring team has to review.
A typical layout for a CV covering letter will have the following information, flow and format:
– Your contact details including your full address, home and mobile telephone numbers, and email address.
– The position details and requirements as they appear in the posting.
– A statement of your interest in the position using key phrases from the job posting in order to show clearly that you understand the company’s needs.
– Your experience and skills as they relate to the position. The hiring team don’t know you, so you should try to keep to real strengths and use this opportunity to market yourself without being verbose or bragging. Be specific and relate to experience that is in your CV. Highlight any learning or advanced studies that you have completed or are participating in, particularly ones that relate to the position you are applying for.
– A statement of significant high points, achievements or accomplishments in your academic and work career, and a list of articles, lectures and speeches that you have prepared and delivered. In particular, activities related to societies or to groups associated with the company’s interests are worthy of mention, including professional societies.
– A statement of how you see yourself fitting into the company, demonstrating your knowledge of their corporate structure, activities and potential growth demands. This is a good place to insert some of the social aspects of your career lifestyle, such as hobbies, family and school activities, and pastimes.
– Closing salutation with thanks for the opportunity to be considered for possible engagement.
Regarding the presentation:
– Where possible, use numbers to provide scale and to demonstrate the types of projects and assignments you have worked on.
– Use bullet points where applicable to avoid excessively long sentences.
– Do not use clichés and buzzwords as they have more than likely worn out their attractiveness.
– Do not use generalisations or abbreviations as they are not always universal and introduce ambiguity when referring to the CV content.
– Present all the useful information that you have to communicate; however, keep the letter within one page in length so that it remains concise enough to maintain the reader’s interest.
It is tempting to copy and paste an existing cover letter to save time. However, it is easy to convey the wrong message if the letter is not tailored and the wording considered thoroughly before hastily sending it off. Once the CV covering letter is prepared, proofread it to find leftovers from previous letters with specific content, and changes of emphasis for the new position.
For some sectors of industry, use of graphic media such as PowerPoint and video segments will add clarity to the covering letter and provide useful depiction of charts or project photographs. Caution must be exercised when considering use of graphics so that it does not become merely a gimmick.