How to write a good covering letter
Letter writing these days seems to be a dying art. Even people at College who are smart write the most appalling letters when it comes to job-hunting. Read these tips below and see whether you are making the same mistakes. A bit of manners and courtesy can go a long way in terms of making a good first impression.
Subject (if writing email)
A blank subject doesn’t help the recruiter. He or she is receiving emails continuously for different jobs all the time. Make sure you put in the Job title and or reference code if there is one.
I don’t know how many times I have seen this messed up by employers and potential employees. Many people write Dear Jane or the first name of the recruiting officer.
This is a big mistake. Where possible address them by their title and surname.
Dear Mr Smith,
This is a good opening as it shows that you are polite, courteous and professional.
State where you found the job
The next thing that people worry about is what they say next. Well, how about telling them where you found the job. Also mention that you attach your résumé and the relevant documents you need.
Here is an example:
I came across your job opening at the local job centre and would like to apply for the Position Title. I attach my résumé
This shows that you are organized, you have the right documentation and are serious about the job in question.
The letter is a brilliant way of introducing yourself as a person to the recruiter. If you're at College or a recent graduate state where you go to and what you majored in. If you have won a prize or something relevant to your application state that too.
Note: Keep it short though, four lines is really the longest you can write. Bare in mind the recruiter has a lot of applications to go through!
State why you would be a good fit for the company
All companies have an ethos or mission statement which has buzzwords. For example GIC in Singapore has their PRIME values which are Prudence, Respect, Integrity, Merit and Excellence. What buzzwords does the company you are applying to have? Have you included them. Write a few lines that contain the firms buzzwords and why you think you fit in with those. This shows you have read up about the company and know what you are signing up for.
Mention the company name!
One quick way to trash your beautiful application in 60 seconds is to mention the wrong company in the application. Always check this. The employer knows that you are probably applying to other firms but they want to see their name.
Introduce a call to action before you finish
State something like:
Thank you for considering my application and I look forward to hearing from you soon.
Some people go further and say that they will ring the recruiter in question. This could be a good strategy but is not always necessary, especially if you are doing this in bulk. If you do state you will call, then do so as it shows that you are serious and follow through.
Put simply, if you know the recruiters name then put ‘Yours sincerely’ and if you don’t put ‘Yours faithfully’. Also put your first and surname at the end, not just John or Jane. The recruiter isn’t your friend yet!
Read and re-read your letter. Also check that you have attached the right documents. Take a little more time to follow these simple tips and your application will appear a lot more professional. Good luck!