Upgrade Your Cover Letter

Did you ever get the impression that the CV restricts you from being specific about your strengths in an online job application? Or that it offers you limited possibilities to stress your high motivation for a job? The good news is that you still have a chance to fill in these gaps: the Cover Letter. It is usually a worthwhile time investment to upgrade your cover letter.

time to upgrade your cover letter

Take advantage of this opportunity and convey your personal message to the executive recruiter. Forget about the guidelines for CV writing! You need a different mindset for what you’re about to write next.

Cover Letter Writing tips

Future Orientation in your cover letter

The Cover Letter is not about what you’ve done, but about what you can do. It is not about the past, but about the future. You already have your resume to talk about the full details of your career and there’s no point in repeating the same information twice.

A cover letter enables you to describe what you bring to a new job clearly? Why should you be hired? What is your motivation in applying for that ‘specific’ role. It’s also a great tool when trying to change job titles and describing your future vision.

KISS

Keep the style simple, formal, unless the application is for a creative position. Whichever the case be concise. Follow the guidelines on the document format, e.g. using a PDF or Word document is usually the expected formatting style. Let’s not go about complicating it, unless you really are in a very creative industry, and can benefit from your magic.

Content in your cover letter

Develop a skeleton structure first. Work around 4 main aspects:

  • announce how you’ve come across the job offer
  • explain why you prefer that particular company
  • prove you are the right person< for the job by detailing relevant information presented in the CV
  • communicate your availability for an interview

Personalize your Cover Letter 

Style: When possible, address the letter to a specific person. It makes a good first impression and shows that you customize. Wrap up with a formal ending such as ‘Yours sincerely’, if you know the person’s name or with ‘Best Regards’, in case your introduction is generic.

Content:

  • Tailor your Cover Letter to each company. Try having the overview of a recruiter when answering his/her questions: ‘Why this industry? Why our company? Why this candidate?’ Highlight the benefits you can bring to their organization, rather than your own gains
  • While avoiding repeating what’s in your CV, you should find an optimal way of linking your experience to your ability to achieve great performance. Mention the key metrics typical for the targeted industry and demonstrate your potential to reach the top. Quantify your accomplishments when possible
  • Use action verbs to reflect your personality (e.g., analyze, collaborate, motivate). Create a slogan or a mission statement to ‘brand’ your Cover Letter. Positive language should be dominant, but stay clear of exaggerated speech

Layout: A nice touch is to adopt a layout similar to your resume. This is just another way to prove consistency.

Ensure there’s a quality check

Most people are left out in the piles of job applications, because even when the motivation is right, the skills are all there, they forget to proof read. This is a real pity. Try not to write more than a page and break down the content into 4 paragraphs.

Proof read the letter for spelling, grammar and punctuation mistakes. You already know this, it is the low hanging fruit, and yet, perhaps due to lack of time, or other priorities, we tend mess up this last most significant aspect in our job applications. A tip is to get everything ready, and then get yourself a tea or coffee break. Come back and check with a fresh eyes.

Else, try and get someone else to give you a view and use the four eye principle. There are no short cuts for getting the quality right and to find a new way to upgrade your cover letter. Read. Improvise. Read again. And then, some more.

Feeling ready to woo the headhunters? You’d better be, as from now on your Cover Letter will stand out of the pile of applications. It’s not long before you land the interview for the executive job you desire.



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