As with every individual part of the application process, your cover letter is an opportunity to show your employer why you are the perfect candidate for the position. While some applicants do recognise the opportunity, others are daunted by the prospect of writing their cover letters. After all, this is rather different from what the university essays are! Rest assured, there is no need to be scared of writing your cover letter — in fact, there are four simple steps that will help you perfect your cover letter writing skills!
Go for a clear structure.
Employers are less interested in your ability to embellish your writing than they are in your skill set. With this in mind, separate your cover letter into clear paragraphs. In the first, it makes sense to clarify which position you are applying to, as well as note any particular streams and / or divisions that you are interested in. In the second paragraph, you can begin explaining why your experience to date supports your application for this role. In the third, you can talk about the company and match your best achievements to the requirements of the role. Make sure that your closing statement is strong just as well. You can amend this structure as you see fit, but go for short, clear paragraphs rather than big chunks of text, and make sure each paragraph has its purpose. This way, not a single word in your cover letter will be out of place!
Concentrate on your best moments.
If your CV is done right, it highlights your best achievements to date. In the cover letter, you have an opportunity to expand on those and explain how they would help you add value at your chosen company. Make sure to really drive the point home — putting your achievements in perspective gives a clear signal to the employer that you have given the position lots of thought. Unlike your CV, your cover letter provides the employer with a select few examples from your experience, so make sure that those are impressive and relevant!
More often than not, students mistake professional language for unnecessarily complicated one. In fact, nothing conveys professionalism better than the absence of embellishments. Cut out fancy phrases, and use clear, simple ones instead. Make sure that your sentences are not too long, and that there is a point to each one of them. Avoid jargon, unnecessary clarifications, the passive voice, and generally everything that serves to muddle your point rather than drive it home. The emphasis should stay on your content at all times. Your employer’s attention span will thank you for this!
Show off your knowledge.
Do you know exactly how to use the knowledge fro your degree to add value to this particular company’s work? This needs to be in your cover letter. Gather everything you know about the position, the company, and the industry overall before you begin writing your cover letter. Pick out the main points and match them to your demonstrable achievements. This way, you can ensure that your cover letter includes zero waffle and instead focuses on your tangible advantages.
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