Today I received a fantastic CV, from an extremely educated and qualified young man. Let’s refer to him as Kevin. Kevin had 6 GCSEs, 2 A Levels and had spent most of his short career working in customer service. At first glance, his CV showed me everything that I wanted in an applicant. The problem was, there was no cover letter. Because there was no cover letter, there was no way for me to ascertain what kind of a person Kevin was. On an initial basis, there was no way for me to ascertain whether he would fit into my team. As a result, there was no way that I would interview Kevin. His application was quickly discarded, and I moved onto the next one.
Have you heard the above story before? It should sound familiar. The unfortunate truth is that far too many applicants let their outstanding resumes down by failing to include a cover letter. Some people will tell you that employers don’t look at a cover letter. This is a myth, and an extremely damaging one at that. In this blog, I’ll show you the importance of including a cover letter, and give you some top tips on how perfect your cover letter format.
What is a Cover Letter?
A cover letter serves as a written prequel to your resume. It is a short letter that comes attached to the CV, which outlines your personal values and the reasons for your interest in the role. The aim of a cover letter is to get the employer interested in you before they even look at the CV.
Why write a Cover Letter?
As I’ve already mentioned, there is an unfortunate myth being spread amongst job seekers, that most employers won’t even look at a cover letter. This is simply not true. You can tell an enormous amount about someone from their cover letter format. Your cover letter format shows the employer that:
- You are someone who can fit into their team. Personality is important. Employers don’t want someone who will cause conflict or won’t gel. They need to know that you match the core values of the company, and that you are truly interested in working there.
- You can construct a good letter. Grammar is extremely important. The best CV’s will lay out the candidate’s information in a clear and easy to understand way, whereas the best Cover Letters will demonstrate that the writer knows how to construct a letter, using good grammar punctuation and spelling. Needless to say, if your cover letter is riddled with spelling mistakes, your CV won’t really be worth looking at.
- You have the personal strengths that they are looking for. While your CV is a comprehensive demonstration of the qualifications you have achieved and your key skills, a cover letter allows you to showcase your personal qualities, such as the ability to work as part of a team, determination, drive to succeed and discipline.
How To Begin A Cover Letter
Since the majority of CVs are now submitted online, most employers will allow for a space where you can insert your cover letter before submitting your CV. What this means is that you probably won’t need to list the address of the employer etc. However, you should still make a point of laying it out like an actual letter. When you start your cover letter, it’s also important to address the employer, state the role that you are applying for and that you believe this is the right role for you.
Take a look at the below example:
Dear Mrs Bruce,
I am writing to apply for the position of Customer Services Assistant. I believe that I am the perfect person for this role, and would be an excellent fit for your company. The reasons that I believe this are as follows…
In the middle or main part of your cover letter, you should state the reasons for why you are applying. While you can mention experience, in this section of your application it’s a good idea to focus on your personal qualities. Using key words such as enthusiastic, determined, hard-working, leadership, professional, customer orientated and motivated are great ways to impress any employer.
Take a look at the below example:
Firstly, I have fantastic customer services skills, and believe strongly in the value of putting customers first. I understand that without the customers, there would be no business, and therefore it’s essential that we do our best to meet their expectations. In line with this, I am a firm believer in professionalism and making sure that every task is completed to the best of my ability. As you will see from my resume, I have worked in customer service positions for a number of years, and firmly believe that I could put my experience to great use whilst in this role…
Finally, finish your cover letter by stating/summarising why you believe you’d be perfect for the position:
In summary, I see this as a fantastic opportunity. I know that I would make a professional, hardworking and enthusiastic addition to your team, and would bring a wealth of new ideas to the table. I would be extremely grateful if you could consider my application.
Hopefully the above has given you some idea of how to create your cover letter format. If you are interested in more top tips, make sure you check out our FREE CV Resource Library!