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How to Write the Perfect Cover Letter

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A Cover Letter is an associate of the CV. A cover letter acts as an introduction to the CV as well as a description of what a candidate can offer specifically in relation to the job being applied for. You can use a cover letter as a quick and concise way of showing the employer how valuable you could be to them. Lure them in to reading your CV (never assume your CV will be read) with this document and use the cover letter to highlight your strongest attributes and most suitable qualities.

Sell yourself on the Cover Letter and CV to get the interview, and sell yourself in the interview to get yourself the job!

The cover letter is split into three sections:

The Opening

The opening paragraph of your cover letter contains your introduction. Captivate the recipient, because the idea is to make them want to know more about you. This goes for the whole job application, but as this is the first paragraph of the cover letter, it can be a deciding factor between application progression or the bin. Hiring Managers or Recruiters or any recipients of your application are very busy people, so it is a good idea to be as concise as possible when trying to grab their attention. 

Greet the recipient with Dear Sir/Miss. Do your homework to find out exactly who you need to send it to. Contact the company directly if necessary to find out who is accepting applications for the role and, if possible, address your opening to that person. If you can not get a specific recipient to reference, then 'Dear Hiring (or HR) Manager' would be the minimum choice.

With the next line, try something that stands out. Avoid generic openings that the recipient has probably seen time and time again and aim for uplifting sentences and attention-grabbing lines that jump off the page when read. You want the recipient to want to meet you. An example would be something along the lines of, "I firmly believe I’m the passionate, hardworking candidate you’ve been looking for”. Now, while this is generic, it does have the 'grab' effect the recipient will be looking for. Use any relevant information you find in the Job Spec and make a connection; and include it as part of the opening. Be passionate and enthusiastic - the Employer only wants to give the job to candidates who really want the job.

The Middle

Take note - this is the most useful part of the cover letter, as this is where you can (and should) include the most relevant information to draw in the recipient and attract them to your CV.

Go back to the Job Spec and highlight the main points that you can relate to, cross-referencing them with the qualifications and experience you feel you can bring to the table. Make valid points and show your value but, again, be concise. Give the employer enough, but not too much. Make them say to themselves, "I want to meet this person". Everything you need for this section of the cover letter will come solely from the employer's job specification, because you are responding to it.

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