When you are looking for work, it can quickly become monotonous, and when not receiving a response as quickly as you’d hoped if at all, it can become disheartening also.
This often means people stop putting in the effort needed to send out quality applications, thus making the monotony even worse.
Some people become so stressed and overwhelmed when having to write a cover letter for every single application, that it can lead to a decline in their mental health. It doesn’t have to be this way…
Here are some helpful tips to take the stress out of writing a cover letter.
Read the entire Ad
If an employer has taken the time to write a comprehensive ad, it means they want you to read it. Don’t skip ahead, and make sure to pay attention to the details.
For example; has the employer taken the time to mention the culture of the workplace, or the kind of qualities they look for in an employee? This means they want you to address how you will fit into the culture of their workplace. Mention your ability to work well as part of a team, your interpersonal skills etc.
Do a little Research
Most ads will give you the details of the department or person to send your application to, some will even include a name. But if they don’t, it doesn’t take long to do a little digging and find out the name of the best person to address your cover letter to.
For example; if a cover letter asks you to address your application to the ‘Facility Manager’, jump on their website or make a quick phone call to the facility to ask for the information. This will help your application stand out and shows that you have made an effort.
5 minutes research into the job your applying for will go a long way…
Divide and Conquer
Most people feel overwhelmed when it comes to writing a cover letter or addressing selection criteria. But when you break the ad down into parts, it’s far less overwhelming.
For example: Look for the ‘Essential Criteria’ which is often listed in dot points, then address how you meet each one of these points. Next, look for the ‘Desirable Criteria’, which are points that whilst not essential, would work in your favour when it comes to getting the job. These two things will create the majority of your letter. You can then add anything that might be relevant to the role (e.g. transferrable skills) and then open and close the letter professionally.
Let’s Examine the Parts
Section 1 – Who, What and Where
- Include your full name and contact details (if including an email, make sure it is a professional email address, and not the address you created when you were thirteen (e.g. email@example.com would not be appropriate to send in a professional application).
- Who are you writing to and what is the purpose? Address a specific person or department where ever possible (Name, Department, Organisation)
- State the purpose of your letter (e.g. Re: Application for Commercial Cleaner Position)
Section 2 – Introduction and Intent
1st Paragraph – Start this part of the letter off by addressing the person you are writing to (e.g. Dear John). If you have not been able to get specific information about who to address your letter to, starting with ‘To whom it may concern’ is acceptable as a last resort.
State the purpose and intent of your letter (include where you found the job advertisement as employers like to know where their ad is being seen).
“I am writing to express my interest in the Commercial Cleaner positions, advertised on the SEEK website on 5th April 2019. I believe my experience and attributes would be a great match to the role and to your organisation”
Section 3 – Sell Yourself
2nd Paragraph – Start addressing the criteria.
Job advertisements will list the essential criteria required for the position. Make sure you address each point by expanding on how your skills match the criteria. This section may go over several paragraphs.
3rd Paragraph – Address any desirable criteria (i.e. things that are not essential but would be beneficial to the role). You can also include any transferable skills in this section that are not specific to the role.
Section 4 – Reliability
4th Paragraph – Let them know your availability, and make sure it matches what they are asking for.
Most positions will be advertised with the hours of work per week or in some cases specific days. Let them know you are available to do the hours specified and when you can commence these hours.
Section 5 – Give em’ the old Razzle Dazzle
5th Paragraph – Sweeten the deal and close the letter. Add further information if relevant to the role.
For example; current drivers licence, and reliable transport, if you live locally you can also say that you can easily travel to their location, that you have attached your resume for their consideration and look forward to the possibility of an interview to discuss how you can contribute to the team.
One Last Look
Tips: Although each part of a job advertisement is given a part in your cover letter, it doesn’t need to be ‘bigger than Ben Hur’.
A good cover letter can usually be written over one page. Stick to the facts, and keep it simple (this differs from addressing ‘Selection Criteria’ for something such as a government position).
Tip: Spell Check, Spell Check, Spell Check!
Tip: It’s always helpful having another person look over your final draft with fresh eyes, they will be able to see how it flows and if you’ve missed any errors that need correcting before you submit it.
Tip: Make sure your details are correct. There’s nothing worse than a wrong phone number when an employer likes your application and wants to bring you in for an interview.
RTO ID 90084
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