Writing a cover letter can be the difference between setting yourself apart from the crowd and falling in line with the rest! Hillman Saunders discusses the importance of having a cover letter to help you get the job.
The importance of a cover letter when sending off a Resume/CV
Looking for a job in the digital industries can be an extremely time consuming business. Not only do you have to trawl through all of the adverts in the press and online, but then send off a Resume/CV and a covering letter for each separate job. After a while it can be very tempting to construct a standard covering letter which touches all bases and which you send off with your Resume for every job. However, competition out there for the very best positions is tough, and not tailoring your cover letter to each specific vacancy could really damage your chances of landing that perfect position.
Stand out from the crowd
If you are tempted to send out a standard letter with each and every application to save time, then the chances are that lots of other job seekers are doing exactly the same thing. Rather than trying to make your application stand out by using an unusual font, or animated graphics to highlight your best features, employers will be more impressed by a well constructed covering letter which you have taken time over writing. If competition is fierce, employers will start by sifting applications based on a number of factors, and these could be as harsh as binning all applications not filled in the specified font, or which do not have a tailor made cover letter.
Let your personality shine through
By definition a CV is a rather sterile document which deals in the hard facts such as the grades you got at school, the training courses you have completed and the responsibilities and achievements in your career to date. There isn’t much room for injecting any personality and it can be very difficult for a potential employer to get an idea of your character and how you may fit in with the rest of the team. Writing a cover letter gives you a chance to give the employer a real sense of what you are like as a person, and careful reading of the advertisement and other company materials such as their website or blog will give you a good idea of the culture of the organisation and what sort of people they are looking for.
Attention to detail
Your Resume has to be short and sweet, and often there just isn’t space to explain fully how you delivered that multi-million pound project on time and in budget, or how you managed the most tricky of employee relations. Writing a good cover letter gives you the space to expand on these issues in full, and make your CV much more relevant to the job on offer. Taking time over structuring your letter will let you show the employer that you have the necessary skills, and that you are just the person they need to join their team.
Personal answers to job advertisement
Each and every job advert is different, and if you take the time to write a separate letter for each one, you can explain fully how your skills meet what is specified in the advert. If there is a list of essential and desirable attributes, write a similar list to show how you have experience and skills which tick all of the boxes. You have as much space as you need to do this, but bulleted lists and short, punchy paragraphs are always better than writing a ten page essay; HR people are busy too and just won’t get past the first page. You can also change the tone of your writing to suit the organisation, and ensure that not only do you stand out from the crowd, but that you secure that all important interview too