In this highly competitive candidate market a well-written cover letter can be your greatest tool in getting noticed. Applying for jobs can sometimes seem like an arduous and administrative heavy process, but spending the extra time on a cover letter shows potential employers and recruiters that you value the opportunity and are serious about their job.
A cover letter should be concise with no more than 2-3 paragraphs. Keep in mind this is your opportunity to let the employer know why they should hire you. It should be professional yet conversational and to the point.
It is critical to personalise your cover letter to the role rather than sending out a generic cover letter. If possible, you should address it personally to the recruiter or hiring manager.
Address any criteria mentioned in the job ad and discuss the qualifications and experience that make you suitable for the role. Without being over-the-top or boastful, explain why you want the role so much. Explain what interests you about their industry and their organisation in particular.
Keep it professional! Do not mention any personal challenges or family commitments that have taken you away from your career. This can open you up to discrimination and unless they will affect your ability to carry out your role, they are not relevant.
Finish with a closing paragraph expressing your desire to meet them for an interview. Ensure this sounds genuine and polite, never pushy. It’s a nice idea to include your phone number.
Last but not least – check all spelling and grammar! Print it out, read and re-read it and get a second opinion if necessary. Poor written communication skills can be a major red flag for employers. Good luck!