10 Tips to create an AWESOME cover letter

It’s the start of a brand new week and a brand new topic for #jobmailtipofteday. This week we’re exploring 10 tips to create an AWESOME cover letter on our social profiles, so make sure that you keep your eye on  our Facebook,  Twitter,  Google+  or Instagram profiles.

When considering the tips below please do so from the employer’s perspective, I think you’ll agree that most of them can be considered “common sense”. However, experience thus far suggests they aren’t commonly applied. Before we start let’s elaborate on what is a cover letter?

A cover letter is your introduction. An effective cover letter should be engaging, position specific and well-written. It should describe why you are interested in the position and what qualifications or experience make you a good fit. It should also outline your relevant experience or education.

Cover LetterYou can also take the opportunity to highlight a special skill or quality you possess that would be an asset for a candidate in that position. A cover letter is also where you can sometimes make up for lack of experience or education, by explaining how you would still be a good choice because of other strengths. If the employer requires you to provide a suitable date for an interview, or your salary expectations, a cover letter gives you the opportunity to mention those details.

This is a great way to get an employer interested in your CV and you. If the cover letter does not impress the employer, he/ she may not even bother to look further, even if could have been the perfect candidate. Remember, a cover letter should do what your CV can’t do, which is: reflect your personality, motivations and attitude.

Some employers have specific requirements when applying so be sure to read the application instructions carefully before applying. The quickest way to land yours in the waste basket is to disregard instructions. There are certain common mistakes that will diminish all the hard work. You can avoid this by checking for some of the following mistakes:

1. Avoid spelling and grammar mistakes.

Avoid making any spelling mistakes, which can be extremely easy when you are sending out numerous applications. Most employers are immediately turned away by spelling mistakes. Mistakes suggest that you do sloppy work and don’t pay attention to detail.

2. Express long-term interest.

Hiring someone new is expensive. It takes time to filter applicants, interview them and find suitable people. It takes more time to train and mentor them. Initially employees drain more value out of the company than they can provide.From an employer’s perspective, there isn’t much value in hiring someone who might only work a few weeks / months.

3. Unrelated career goals.

Tailor each cover letter to the employer who will receive it. An employer is interested in what you can do for them. Your letter should demonstrate a genuine interest in the position and a commitment to fulfilling its duties. You should not include what you hope to accomplish for yourself. (At this stage it is not about you) Since cover letters are generally short, make it relevant to the job applying for, any other information weakens your application.

4. Paint a clear picture of your intended position.

It seems that some people mistakenly assume that raw enthusiasm and a willingness to work is enough to get them in the door. It isn’t. Your cover letter should make you sound determined to successfully enter into the industry – not desperate to do so. Enthusiasm is very different than desperation. Make sure you don’t beg for a position.

5. Emphasizing a lack of experience.

Do not call attention to your weaknesses or lack of experience in your cover letter. This only emphasizes your shortcomings instead of your strengths. Focus on your skills, organizational and industry knowledge.

6. Misrepresentation.

You should never misrepresent your experiences and skills in either your cover letter or CV. When the company discovers the misrepresentation – as they will – they have grounds for immediate dismissal. Don’t exaggerate anything to the point of misrepresentation.

7. Using anecdotes.

Your cover letter should be written in a serious, professional tone. If you use anecdotes, you run the risk of not being seriously considered. You should always keep a polite and respectful tone in your letter.

8. Inject your personality.

Cover letters and resumes are typically very bland. It’s likely that your potential employer will be looking at several other applications at the same time. If your communication style is just as bland as everyone else’s, it won’t help you stand out. But if you inject some originality and personality in your cover letter and CV, it makes you more memorable.

A friendly tone is generally good, but don’t be so casual that you seem unprofessionally goofy. Make sure that each paragraph of your letter contains substance and value; cut the fluff.Don’t forget to sign your name at the close of your cover letter.

9. Demanding statements

You should never demand something from the employer in your cover letter. It is a common mistake to state “I am looking for a unique opportunity in which I will be adequately challenged and compensated.” This insinuates that you expect the employer to place you in a position that satisfies your needs – not theirs.

10. Build your case to win and show them how AWESOME you are!

Think like a lawyer building a case as to why you should be hired. Make sure your case is a strong one.When you’re seeking a rewarding long-term career, understand and accept that lots of other people are looking for the same thing. It’s a competitive situation, so you need to play to win. Being good isn’t enough. You need to be the best among the other applicants for your position.

Identify one or two qualities you possess that you’ve developed to a much greater degree than most people. Emphasize those qualities. Present them as strengths, and centre your application around these strengths.

Share that which makes you stand out from the crowd. If you’ve won some awards, share that. If you’ve published some articles in your field, share that too. If you can’t share anything that makes you seem different and better, someone else will. They’ll get hired. You’ll get ignored.

In closing…

I don’t think any of the above tips are particularly controversial if you simply consider the situation from the employer’s point of view. This point of view is important to consider because it’s the point of view that decides whether or not you get hired.

You have the ability to create an amazing career for yourself, but only if you step up and do what it takes to make it a reality. Most people are unwilling to pay that price, and so they wallow in unsatisfying work. The price of fulfilling work may seem high, but it’s still affordable for those who accept that fulfilling work deserves a premium price.

Remember to always follow the mantra “Don’t tell me, show me what is in it for me”.

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6 Responses

  1. Uzor says:

    Thanks for the tips. I hope to secure a job soon and with all the useful tips it would be long.

  2. Tawanda says:

    That’s awesome, I was making huge mistakes on my cover laters, now I have clear points to consider. I think that’s the reason I didn’t get responses for all of my applications. Great job!

  3. Mape says:

    I like to thank all the team from jobmail for hard working, you open another page to me thanks guys.

  4. Tebogo TP says:

    Am happy to the team for all your efforts indeed you’re helping us guys,big ups to the team.I was not aware of most of the things that I’ve include in the cover letter which shouldn’t be included.Thanks a lot.

  5. Sbongiseni Mabuyakhulu says:

    Thank for the tips we hope they will help us find the job very soon thank you.

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