A good job application will stand out from the crowd. Occasionally a rare skill in your CV may be enough to get you an interview, but more often than not you’ll be up against hordes of other candidates with similar experience. In these cases, the cover letter is as, if not more important than the CV itself. While your CV explains your experience and skills – what you’ve achieved and what you can do – your cover letter explains the relevancy of your experience, what you want and why you deserve the role. This is your ‘sales pitch’; your chance to show your passion and enthusiasm for the role, and what sets you apart from the competition. Just like a good sales pitch, keep it short, positive and to-the-point.
Make it personal
A good cover letter will help to persuade a recruiter or employer that you’re the right fit for their job, not just any job. In order to achieve that, you need to make it personal. Address the cover letter to the person handling recruiting (if you know their name) and use the name of the company. Don’t send the same cover letter for different jobs – this defeats the purpose, and it’s easy to tell when candidates use a standard template for all their applications.
Highlight relevant experience
The job advertisement usually lists the required skills and experience for the job, so use these as your guide. They are the key points the recruiter will be hunting for in your application, so make it easy for them and briefly highlight your relevant skills and experience in reference to the advertisement. If you can tick all these boxes quickly, you’ll have your foot in the door.
Show your enthusiasm
Skills and experience alone won’t always be enough to stand out, so your attitude and motivation become an important factor. Assuming you haven’t just applied for every job on Seek, why does this job appeal to you? If you’re passionate and enthusiastic about your work, this is where to express it.
Provide background and clarification
A brief explanation of your current position and your reason for seeking new employment helps provide some context to your application. State if you’re immediately available or if not, how long it will take before you can commence a new role. If you’re currently out of work, have been made redundant, or there are any significant gaps in your CV, it helps to provide a little background, but remember to keep it as positive as possible.
Check your spelling and grammar
Especially in technical IT roles, an employer needs to have confidence in your attention to detail. Nothing shakes confidence faster than poor spelling and grammar in a job application. If you’ve addressed the letter to someone specific, triple check you’ve spelled their name correctly! Your CV and cover letter are your promotional material, so ensure you’re making the best impression.