With the new year well and truly in full swing, many creative professionals are looking for fresh challenges and opportunities to kickstart 2019. If you're one of these people, it’s likely that sooner or later, you're going to face the dreaded cover letter.
Although few people like writing them, almost all job applications today require a cover letter. A cover letter is a crucial part of the application process that allows you to showcase to potential employers who you are as a person, and what makes you different from the countless other professionals applying for the same role as you.
Selling your skills, experience and abilities to hiring managers is easier said than done though. We've put together some expert advice that will be sure to help you create a killer cover letter that impresses your prospective employers and lands you the role you've always wanted!
Avoid the 'one size fits all' approach
Taking the time to research the company you're applying for and tailoring your cover letter accordingly is one of the most important things to remember when it comes to creating a killer cover letter. The one size fits all approach – wherein you upload what is essentially the same cover letter for every job application – won't work.
Try to find out not only what the company does and what your job role would entail, but who their customers are, who their main competitors are and what they are trying to achieve with their products and service.
Hiring managers will be able to tell in an instant how much research and effort you have put into your cover letter, so make it count! After all, one thorough, well-thought-out cover letter that catches the eye of an employer is worth more than ten mediocre ones that are merely glanced over and brushed aside.
Remember the difference between your CV and cover letter
When it comes to writing cover letters, a common mistake made by job seekers is simply repeating the information they've already given on their CV. However, cover letters work best when written in conjunction with your CV.
A killer cover letter will guide employers through the most relevant experience and qualifications on your CV, and explain the skills that this experience has helped you to develop. This should then be expanded upon to detail how the skills will be beneficial to your performance in the specific role and company you're applying for.
For example, if on your CV your most recent experience is listed as a Team Leader, your cover letter could expand upon this by detailing how many people were in the team you led, your key achievements in the role and the skills you gained from the position.
Keep it short and sweet
Keeping your cover letter short and sweet will increase the chance of your prospective employer reading it in its entirety. Three or four paragraphs (and definitely no longer than one page!) is an ideal length.