Your cover letter is the companion to your CV, and is still required in some cases.  It has to grab the attention of the recruiter and be just as well written and presented.

Inclusions

As with your CV use a clear font and layout.  Make sure that your current home address, contact telephone number and e-mail address are at the top of the letter, followed by the date.  Where possible, find out who the letter should be addressed to; it will make a good impression.  Job title and reference number should be noted so that the recruiter knows which job you’re applying for; they may have a number of positions they are recruiting for.

Introducing Yourself

You are replying to a job application; therefore, use this as a way of introducing yourself and your skills.  Do not copy your CV word for word but highlight the pertinent facts that relate to the job description at hand.  The focus must be on how your experience meets their requirement for the role, not on you personally.

Sell Yourself

Like your CV the cover letter is a tool to be used to get across just how perfect you are for the employer.   Keeping the above point in mind, you should emphasise your achievements and successes for past employers. You could, if you wished, choose specific skills that have been noted in the job description and give examples of when you have excelled at them. For example if you are required to have excellent communication skills, you could state that you have 4 years’ experience of presenting at monthly board meetings and providing clients with written strategies for company projects.

There Is No ‘I’ in Team

Although you are selling yourself to a prospective employer, it is a good idea not to over use the word ‘I’ at the beginning of every paragraph.  Try to come up with alternatives such as ‘When managing the B2B sales team …’, or ‘By implementing …’, etc.   Be a little creative and show that you do, in fact, have excellent communication skills.

Follow-up

Some recruiters will advise you to take control of the application process by stating in your letter that you will call the employer to find out your progress in a few days.   This is not advisable.  If the recruiter feels you have the skills and experience they are looking for it will be evident from your letter and CV and they will be the first to call you. Being pushy will simply alienate you from the prospective employer.  It is better to welcome them to call with any questions they may have and repeat your contact telephone number.

Keep it Brief

Your cover letter should be one page in length – concise and compelling.  Respond to the points raised in the job application, highlight your achievements, focus on the employer’s needs, customise the letter, date it and sign it.