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The Green Recruitment Company | 'Back to Basics' Series | Cover Letter Tips

On the first blog of The Green Recruitment Companies ‘Back to School’ series we covered the top tips on writing a CV. This blog will look at what to include in a cover letter. For many job hunters this can be one of the hardest and most confusing parts of the application process. Trying to grab the attention of the reader without making the cover letter 2 pages long can be challenging. Here are our best tips for success when writing or updating your cover letter.

What to include in the cover letter?

Contact information

An online application may not necessarily need your contact information on the top as you may have already put this into a different section on the application. However, if you are attaching your cover letter with your CV or resume then we would advise to keep your contact details on the document. It is important to tailor this to each company and how you have been instructed to fill out the application.

Addressing the hiring manager

When you begin the cover letter you need to address the hiring manager or person of contact who will be reviewing the applications. Their name may be found on the advert but if not try to do some research and find who the person is. This will help to show your interest in in the role and desire to join the company. If you are unable to find the person do not worry, many applicants use the words ‘Dear Sir/Madam’.

The role you’re applying for and why you are contacting the person

The opening few lines should be short and to the point. Explain simply why you are getting in touch and the position you are interested in. As this is one of the first sentences the hiring manager will read it is your first opportunity to grab their attention. Our clients recommend you include a quick overview of your experience and why you are interested in the new employer. For example,

“I am currently a Sales Associate who specialises in software and IT. I wish to apply and express my interest in the Senior Sales Associate vacancy at John Smiths. I recently became the top performing Sales Associate by increasing customer retention rates by 25% and am looking to take this experience into my next role. I believe John Smiths could benefit from this greatly and help me continue my development and passion for sales.”

Why you are suitable for the role

This area is an opportunity for you to explain why you are interested in the role and to work for the employer. You can call on some previous experiences to show how this makes you suitable for the role. For example,

“In the last four years as a Sales Associate I have encountered a variety of different scenarios such as…….which has enabled me to reach and successfully engage 10 new customer accounts. This is something I have a great interest in and would like to continue developing as I look for new and exciting sales techniques.”

How can you benefit the new employer

This section will focus on what you can do for your new employer. Outlining your achievements so far and elaborating on points from your CV with examples will score you brownie points here. For example,

“On my most recent project I was directly responsible for a £25 million budget. I delivered this project before the estimated completion date which saved the company £2 million in material and labour costs.”

Conclude and recap your interest in the role

This is where you reiterate your interest in the role and also company and why you are a good fit. It is important to also thank the hiring manager for their time and consideration. You can do some research about the company and show how they are the right fit for you. You may also want to show the hiring manager it is not just a one way street by explaining how you are the right fit for their business. Show your interests align for example,

“I have seen on multiple software websites that John Smiths is one of the leading companies within the software and IT space and have an extensive research department which proves a very well delivered service. I believe approaching every with an open mind and being thorough with detail to understand the customers needs to be vital for success. With my previous experience, I believe this to be a core value I can support and develop.

Thank you for your time and consideration. I look forward to speaking with you to discuss my application further.”

Close letter and sign off 

Finally, ensure you sign off in the correct way. Avoid using ‘Cheers’ or ‘Thanks’. Remember this is a formal letter and the first point of contact the person will have with you so, be professional and thorough. Using ‘Yours Sincerely’ will work if you know the person you are writing too (had previous contact), if not then ‘Yours Faithfully’ or ‘Kindest Regards’ will be suitable.

Top tips to succeed

  1. Do your research

Doing your research on a company and have a look on recent news article or blogs they have posted can be beneficial. Having a good understanding of the business means you can match their ethos and core values to differentiate yourself from other applicants. Researching the role is also important. Looking at the day-to-day responsibilities of the role will help you align your skills to the job. You can then also mention which skills you would like to develop and grow with them. 

  1. Layout, format, and length

A cover letter should be roughly half a page of A4 and be formatted like a letter. Keep it short, to the point and concise. Personal details (Address and name) to the right and all other writing aligned to the left like a standard letter. Use a professional font and black text. It may sound simple, but the little things make all the difference.

  1. Avoid generic words and phrases

Don’t send a generic cover letter to each application. It will be spotted a mile away by hiring managers or the recruiter involved in the process, so, take your time when writing it. Using general phrases or words such as “highly skilled” or “good teamwork skills” should be avoided. You may be ‘highly skilled’ but think of examples of where you have shown this instead of writing the phrase.