Each time a job is advertised, there are usually a large number of people want it. So many in fact, that interviewing them all could take days. The employers need a method, where they can quickly choose a few of the best people to interview. The standard way is for everyone to apply for a job in writing (whether online or in the post).
To stand the best chance of getting a job, your application needs to be better than the rest. A well written CV/resume or application form goes a long way to achieving this goal. Unless it specifies not to, I would always include a cover letter. It could increase your chances of succeeding.
A good cover letter makes the application more personal and will tell the employer why you’re the most suitable for the job. If it’s done right, it shows you can write clearly and concisely. Which is a skill that is essential for most jobs. Plus it looks more professional to send in a pack of information, than a lone CV/resume or application form.
Writing a good cover letter requires practise. When I first started applying for jobs I really struggled to write cover letters. This was mainly due to the general communication difficulties I had, because of my autism/aspegers. I needed help, and managed to find some good guidance on the internet. I also found a large number of different templates I could use and adapt, for a number of different job roles.
I would always recommend using a template, if you struggle to write a cover letter. A good website, where you can get a basic overview of what to write for each paragraph with examples, is Reed.
If you are good at writing, it’s always better to write your own cover letter using all your own words. Each person has their own writing style, and many employers would be able to distinguish between a self-written cover letter, and one that uses snippets from other sources. That being said, it’s always better to include a cover letter than not. Writing your own from scratch will just give you a slight edge, against those that don’t.
When writing cover letters, the best advice I can give, is to include your own real examples. Showing how you’re the best person for the job. As an example, they may ask for someone who is good at website development. If you’ve done this in a previous job, you could write about it. You may say:
I have got an extensive knowledge and experience of developing websites. In my website administration role at Tech Star I was responsible for creating and launching their new website at www.TechStar.co.uk. I was the team leader for the logo design, and all of the website maintenance.
Some tips are:
- Write about how you’re good for the role, with an example that matches their needs.
- Lay it out correctly, as shown below.
- Make sure there are no spelling or grammar errors.
- If you can, get someone else to proof read it for you.
- Add the right amount of information.
- Don’t try to make it too fancy, by including words you don’t know the proper meaning of.
- Don’t use too many clichés (such as I am hard working and reliable, or I’m a go getter).
- If you know the name of the person you’re writing to, then you end the letter with: Yours sincerely.
- If you don’t know the name, put Dear sir/madam at the start, and close the letter with Yours faithfully.
- Fit it all onto one page and choose a good sized plain font, of around 12 or 14 points.
An example of a cover letter is below. I have made some details up for privacy, but the main information is included.
Website for How to: Write a Cover Letter https://www.reed.co.uk/career-advice/how-to-write-a-cover-letter/