June 6, 2014

Careless with your cover letter – I wouldn’t hire you…


I recently advertised for a Junior Administrator. I got over 100 CV’s, but as usual I was disappointed to find that over 90% did not have a cover letter, and some cover letters were addressed to the wrong person.

A cover letter is your opportunity to sell yourself and to connect your “skill set” to the needs of a company. Even if your CV is not an exact match, it’s a chance to convince someone you’re worth looking at anyway.

I have read lots of bad cover letters – letters that are vague, generic and full of clichés.  When I read badly written cover letters it’s hard not to think “Why should I care? How are you going to fit with the company I am recruiting for?”

Demonstrate passion or interest in the company

State what appeals to you about working for the company – show it’s not just “another job application” and that you care, for the mission and vision, or services or products the company is delivering.

Show knowledge of the company

It’s easy to do the research today on the company, leadership, success or challenges, and the competition. Demonstrate you have researched and try to connect your background, attitude, or skill-set with the company. You need to show yourself as a person who will add value to the future success of the business.  Make that connection!

Make links between requirements or the position and your experience

After your opening statement, it is very important to connect your background, skills, and knowledge with specific requirements of the role that are outlined in the job ad.  If your CV is not perfect for the job, draw from other areas like academic or extra-curricular experiences. Show you are a match for what’s required.

Finish with confidence

It’s good to recap why you are right for the position and finish with a confident statement. Something like – “I look forward to discussing how my skill set is relevant in an interview…”

Make sure there are no grammatical errors – it’s worth having someone look at your letter to proof read it.

Keep it brief

Finally – a cover letter shouldn’t be longer than a page. It’s hard to express your key points in a few paragraphs, but it’s worth taking the time to do it.


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