7 ways to make your cover letter stand out
There’s a lot of advice out there about CV best practice, but something that’s not covered so much is how to write a cover letter that stands out from the crowd.
Unlike a CV, where you’re listing your experience and qualifications, a cover letter is a place where you can really introduce yourself to your potential employer. You can be persuasive, and explain why you are a perfect fit for the company and match the criteria they’re looking for.
Here are seven tips for writing a cover letter that’s sure to stand out.
Do your research
Don’t write a cover letter until you’ve spent time reading through all documentation on the job role, any requirements for the application, and completed some due diligence on the company itself. The company’s website, and LinkedIn, are great places to better understand what the company does, its work ethic, culture and gain insights on current employees.
This will help you ensure that your cover letter is appropriate for the specific application.
Make it personal with tone and wording
A lot of people use generic cover letter content which they’ve found online. While it can help to see what other people write, using these templates word for word is a sure fire way to blend into the crowd.
Even if you’re getting inspiration from a format you’ve found online, make sure that your cover letter is personalised. It needs to show off your personality, and show that you’ve understood the company, and their needs.
Just like in an interview, there is absolutely no good that will come from lying in a cover letter. By all means present the very best version of yourself, but don’t present yourself as someone that you’re not.
If there’s a skill-set you’re missing, explain how you make up for that with other strengths, rather than try to hit every single criteria by fudging the truth.
Refer to an online website or portfolio
A cover letter is a great place to direct people to other resources to find more information about you. Why not wow potential employees by referring to an “about me” section of your portfolio website. Not only does this allow you to show case your personality and talk about relevant experience, but you’re also illustrating that you’ve invested in building your personal brand.
For anyone looking at creative roles like graphic design or marketing, this also provides you with a platform for highlighting some of your best pieces of work to date!
Invest in design
Most cover letters are written in the body of an email, or attached as a plain word document. If a specific format hasn’t been specified by the employer, it can pay to invest in the design of your cover letter.
The latest Microsoft software includes creative templates for CVs and cover letters, and there are free tools like Canva.com that have impressive and eye-catching templates to save as a PDF too.
Make it unique
If you’re anything like me, you’re probably going to be applying to quite a few roles before you find the right fit. Make sure that for every application, you are writing a unique cover letter. You can re-use some of the information, of course, but adapt the tone, and content, for the requirements and values of each specific role.
Have someone read over and spell check!
Writing about yourself can be quite unnatural, so it helps to have someone who knows you read over your cover letter and provide any impartial advice. A lecturer, or friend’s parent, is usually a safe bet. And once that’s been signed off – make sure you spell check!
Remember, that securing your first graduate role is not the end of the journey. If you continue to invest in your personal brand, you’ll find that standing out from the crowd becomes a lot easier! With an online presence that showcases your skill-set, you might even have potential employers coming to you!
Bianca Miller is a brand ambassador for the .uk domain names, and director and founder of The Be Group and Bianca Miller London. Passionate about helping others improve their personal brand, she frequently shares her expertise with students at events and forums around the country.
For students wanting to boost their online brand with their own website, Bianca recommends visiting Eco Hosting at http://bit.ly/2sd6kHU; packages will be on offer to those who would like to create a .uk domain name.
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