Applying for jobs can be stressful, especially for competitive openings, but if you do it right you can take comfort in knowing that you’ve sent off the best application you could. You may already have a killer resume (if you don’t, definitely check out our Resumes 101 post), but you can’t forget about your almighty cover letter. This is one the your most powerful tools in your application arsenal; your smooth-talking sales pitch to catch the employer’s interest. If you nail this, you’ll be on track for an interview in no time.
But don’t just take it from us, our Student Learning Advisors can vouch for just how important a good cover letter can be. With their extensive experience and industry knowledge, they’re the perfect people to ask about anything career related. So, whether you’re changing careers or going for your first graduate position, here’s how to ensure your cover letter gives you the best shot at your next job.
Don’t re-write your resume
You should also explain why you’re interested in not just the role, but the company and its mission as well. You’re going to have to research this a bit, but it will show them that you wouldn’t be going into things blind.
Get the structure right
Keeping your letter structured and professional helps to ensure that it’s short and punchy; it’s not supposed to be a manuscript. A proper cover letter might read like this:
- Greeting by name – If you know who you’re trying to convince, making things personal and appealing to them directly is a good way to start. You might find this on LinkedIn or it may be on the application page. If not, a failsafe is “Dear hiring manager”.
- A clear introduction – The introduction is your first impression, it needs to be short and sweet, but don’t let it get dry. Start off by saying why the position appeals to you, why you’re suited for it, and what you value about the company. If you just graduated with a Diploma of Media and Communication, you could apply to a local media outlet and discuss how you love the emphasis they place on integrity in journalism. Don’t be afraid to let your personality shine through a bit!
- The body – Just like an essay, this is where your evidence comes in. Show the reader that you’re the perfect candidate by bringing up the relevant experience, skills, and qualifications from your resume, keeping the momentum you generated in your introduction going. Action words are a great way to do this. Strive and drive are great buzz words. Remember, you’re trying to sell yourself and what the company might gain from you.
- Conclusion – Now it’s time to tie it all together. Re-affirm the points you made in your introduction, mainly your enthusiasm and interest in the position. Encourage the reader to read the rest of your application, and invite them to talk face-to-face….even if it’s via Zoom. This call to action shows that you’re keen to seal the deal and prompts the employer to make the next move.
- Sign off – To close it off, end the letter with “Kind regards”, or another appropriate sign-off, and drop your signature in at the bottom.
Finally, make sure that the formatting of your cover letter is consistent with the rest of your application; you don’t want your application looking like a train crashed through an art gallery. Visual consistency makes a big difference, so using the same design style, font, and font size as your resume is a must .
Most importantly though is PROOFREADING! Make sure to double check everything for spelling mistakes, punctuation, etcetera. It’s always good to get another set of eyes on it too, so you could ask a mate or a Student Learning Advisor to have a read before you send it off.
While this is no means a comprehensive guide, it should give you a good idea of how to write the perfect cover letter. A cover letter is your first impression with a potential employer, so starting off strong is crucial. Take advantage of this opportunity to sell yourself and your skills.
When looking for jobs, sometimes you might find out about an amazing opening in another industry, one that you’d love to get into but don’t have the qualifications for. Not to worry, because with a diploma from SIBT you could be on track within 8-12 months. With diploma options ranging from IT to Business Administration, or from Engineering to Arts, now is the perfect level up your career.
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