Source: Nataliya Vaitkevich on Pexels
- Include all “mandatory” fields
Your identity, on the left: full name, address and contact details.
The identity of your interlocutor, on the right: if the advertisement stipulates sending the letter to a specific person, address it to this person.
The subject: this should include the title of the position you are applying for and the reference of the advertisement, if one exists.
- Structure the information into 3 main parts
“You”: this paragraph shows that you know the company and that you understand the recruiter’s needs. Use vocabulary specific to the industry or company.
“Me”: how does your profile match the recruiter’s expectations? Using examples and references to your background, align your skills with the position. Show positivity and confidence by using action verbs such as “developed”, “communicated” and “coordinated”. “We”: In summary, you explain what mutual benefits you and the company will derive from your collaboration. Assert what you can bring to the role and what your motivations are.
- Be polite
The cover letter is an exercise in style that judges your ability to write a formal letter. Start with a salutation (“Dear Madam/ Sir”) and end with a polite phrase (“Kindly accept, Madam/ Sir…”).
- Keep it clear and concise
One page max.
A single font, neither too small nor too big.
A well-spaced layout with easily identifiable paragraphs.
- Check spelling and grammar
Computer-based spell checkers are not enough. Proofread carefully several times or have someone else proofread it to check for spelling, grammar and typing errors. An otherwise good application containing errors is quickly eliminated!
- One application = one letter
Create your letter from a blank page: reworking an old letter means taking the risk of leaving old information behind.
The content must be different for each application: tone, vocabulary and arguments must match the role. Of course, you can take inspiration from your previous letters… but make sure you change at least 3 sentences in your letter to really personalise it!
- Prove what you say
Each statement must be illustrated. For example, you write that you are creative? Explain in a few lines your most important creative achievement.
- Bet on originality…
Treat your letter as your only chance to capture the attention of your interlocutor. How about a quote that inspires you?
Diversify your vocabulary by using synonyms; recruiters read too many letters from “competent”, “dynamic”, “open” and “serious” candidates.
- … But no kidding!
Don’t be familiar: the recruiter is not your friend. You have to keep a distance from your interlocutor.
Use humour sparingly: humour can differentiate you from other candidates, but often not for a good reason.
- Mistakes not to make
Criticizing your former company: This gives the image of a person with a bad spirit.
Over-selling yourself: there is no need to “enlarge” your skills, everything will be checked during the interview.
Detailing your complete background: it is useless since you attach your CV.