Lifting the lid on great cover letters
You’ve created the perfect CV and it shows you and your skills off to their best advantage.
As nice as it would be to think that’s it now for all your future job applications, there is another factor in every job application that must be given equal thought – the cover letter.
Chances are that the employer will read the cover letter first before even opening your CV, so it needs to highlight your selling points in compact form.
Your cover letter clearly shouldn’t just be a copy of your CV in prose form – it is a brief summary of your top skills and experiences that show the employer that you are just what they are looking for. You are the one!
We want specifics!
This then means that every cover letter should be specific to every job you are applying for, ie write a new one every time and, in the letter, showcase your skills that match what the employer is looking for.
So if you are applying for work in a coffee shop, and the job description has asked for confident and friendly applicants, highlight any customer-facing roles you have had, or talk about the time you helped out at a catering event.
If the employer is looking for activity leaders who are adaptable, creative and can lead a group of youngsters, mention the time you showed a class of children how to make paper aeroplanes or when you volunteered at a summer camp.
Did you help to host a celebration event or project manage a new launch? If you’re looking to move into the events or creative industries, this will be relevant.
So just accentuate all the most relevant things you have done that match the qualities they are looking for – all the rest of your experience and qualifications can then be left for your CV.
Follow the format
Cover letters are likely to be sent online now, especially when you apply via a job board like Holiday Staff, but the layout should follow that of a standard letter, so your address and contact details at the top, followed by the company name and address that you are applying to, then you start the body of the letter.
Save it as a PDF, which means that anyone, regardless of which system they are using, should be able to open it.
But size is everything
Cover letters shouldn’t be more than one side of A4. Keep it succinct and pick out your relevant experience to match their job description, and provide them with examples. But they don’t want to read a novel, so keep it to the point!
Our final point is not one to skip over – please please proof-read your letter thoroughly! Mistakes are going to get you noticed for all the wrong reasons, and sometimes this is make or break instantly, before the employer even gets to your CV. Ask a friend or family member to read it over for you as well – a fresh pair of eyes can make all the difference.
For more detailed instructions on how to construct the perfect covering letter, please visit the Prospects website.
Looking for CV writing tips? Then read our advice here.