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By Bayside Group

Nov 23, 2017

Why is the cover letter just as important as the resume?

When candidates are looking for employment, they often focus their efforts on perfecting their resume. Adding all relevant details, ensuring the content is suitable for the role and polishing spelling and grammar to perfection is important – but this attention often means a cover letter is written as a cursory afterthought.

This strategy can have a surprisingly negative impact on your chances of finding a job. A cover letter is half of the application you send to a potential employer, and represents a chance in a few hundred words to position yourself as the ideal candidate for the role. So what do you need to know?

 

What actually is a cover letter?

A cover letter introduces you and your experience to an employer, tailoring a compelling argument about why they should invest more time in reading your resume. The two most important things to remember about the cover letter are:

  1. You are not simply rehashing your resume in written form. If an employer wanted to read your CV twice, they could. In your cover letter, you need to speak more directly about the job you are applying for, what you can bring to the role specifically and why you want that job.
  2. Your resume will generally list your contact details, educational and workplace experience. These details will not change when you apply for different jobs. Your cover letter is a chance to pick the specific skills and experience you have and discuss why they make you the best candidate for the job you are applying for.

How do I write a better one?

The Faculty of Education at the University of Tasmania offers excellent guidance, with key dos and don’ts:

A cover letter gives you the chance, in a few hundred words, to tailor yourself to a role and convince an employer to read your CV.

DO keep to the point;

DO tailor your cover letter to each job application;

DON’T write more than one page;

DON’T use informal language just because you are talking about yourself.

 

Other important tips for writing a cover letter that will jump off the page to potential employers and will tick all the boxes include:

  • Looking out for keywords in the job advertisement and using them too – this indicates to an employer that you understand what they want and have critical reading skills.
  • Write with energy and enthusiasm – it may be difficult if you are writing multiple unique cover letters every day, but maintaining a positive, upbeat attitude in your writing will stand out to an employer.
  • Use a checklist to be sure you have included all the information you need, including discussing your relevant experience and talking about why you want the job.

For more handy tips on writing a winning cover letter or information on finding a job, contact the Bayside Group team today.

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