7 Tips for an Outstanding Cover Letter

In real estate they always talk about position, position, position. In a job application the same applies to your cover letter, which is valuable real estate that helps make you stand out from the crowd when applying for that new job.

This is the most important writing you will do as part of the job application process. And yet cover letters are often overlooked or given very limited attention.

It’s your chance to shine, sell yourself, your story, and your unique skills and talents. This is not the time to be conservative, this is your time to ask for the job in the nicest possible way.

A cover letter is your number one marketing piece in your bid to land the new role.

Career Coach and Educator, Nikki Paterson from Accomplish Education, is an expert when it comes to job applications and interviews. 

Here are 7 tips from Nikki to help you write an outstanding cover letter: 

1. Personalise it

Address your cover letter individually to the person who advertised the role. Wherever possible, use their name not just their title.

2. Make it ‘you’

This is your unique sales pitch so use your personality.

It should always be in 1st person; this is about you and your unique skills and abilities so write like you were talking to them face to face. Remember, you are trying to sell yourself on the page.

3. Do your research

Do your research and tell them why their company, the role, and the industry matters to you.

4. Make it a concise value proposition

Make it a value proposition, tell them why you are the one for them but also make sure that you use concise language without babbling on for too long.

5. Include relevant keywords

Wherever possible, match your statements to the job description and keywords of the role – this will keep AI and human recruiters happy! 

6. Imagine you are the reader 

Take the time to think about the letter from the point of view of the reader. What is going to grab their attention?

If it is a career change, make sure that you mention that in a positive way and how your previous experiences would enhance your skills in the new role.

7. And now here’s what NOT to do!

  • Use the same generic cover letter with the same statement every time. It must be customised to each company and job description.
  • Rehash your resume. There is no need to list the things that are already on your resume. This is the quickest way to lose their attention.
  • Make sweeping statements that are impossible to prove or back up just in a letter. Saying that you are a ‘go-getter’ means nothing whereas giving a specific example of how you went above and beyond in your current role and how that might be relevant to the new position is far more valuable.
  • Embellish the facts too far that you then can’t back them up if you do manage to get the interview.
  • Don’t use AI to write your letter for you because if the potential employer is using ATS (applicant tracking systems) which in itself is AI it might reject your application at the very beginning. (It’s okay to use AI to help you review, restructure, and tidy up your cover letter but this is all about you so make it you.)

A great cover letter gives you the ‘wow’ factor

Your cover letter has the possibility to make you the standout candidate for the job.

After reading your cover letter, your prospective employer should be thinking, “Wow! I want to know more about this person.”

Just imagine: you and one other person applying for the same job, both with similar experience and qualifications, but you’ve got a great cover letter – personally addressed to the correct person, written in your own unique voice, demonstrating your understanding of the company and the role, concisely stating why you are the one for the job, including relevant keywords that directly address the job ad and some eye-catching statements that you can back up in the interview? 

That might just be the one thing that makes all the difference.

If you need a hand with your cover letter, resume or getting ready for that interview, reach out to Nikki.

And if you need qualifications that match your experience, that’s where we can help: apply here or give us a bell on 1300 793 002 for a free appraisal.

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