If I could count the number of emails I receive with queries and requests on how to go about a Cover Letter, it would be a big one. Job seekers are having a hard time coming up with Cover Letters that will help sell their skills to employers, and this is a situation across all levels.
So, how do you go about writing a cover letter that sells you?
The number one step is to avoid duplicating information you included in your CV on the Cover Letter and the second one is to know the distinct differences between the two.
“A Cover Letter is supposed to act as a complement to the CV and vice versa; they should complement each other in a way that if one is missing, the other one seems to be lacking,” says Florence Mukunya, a Professional CV Writer at Corporate Staffing Services.
Make Your Cover Letter Stand Out In 3 Steps
1. Familiarize yourself with the acceptable format
The Cover Letter is simple and brief. It should consist of 3 or 4 paragraphs that must fit on one A4 document; what job requirements mean when they ask applicants to provide a 1 page Cover Letter. Like the name suggests, the Cover Letter is a letter to the hiring manager purposing why you need a job, so you must make an effort to address them as is required.
If you know the name of the hiring or recruiting manager, the better for you, but if you don’t know then Dear Sir/madam before the ‘Re’ or ‘Subject’ line will do just fine. Some job seekers write either one (Dear Sir or Dear Madam). If the recruiter handling your application is of a different gender, they might be offended. This may ruin your chances for the job.
SEE ALSO >>> What Is The Difference Between A CV and Cover Letter
2. Your Cover Letter should mimic the key requirements for the job
Job seekers have been advised over and over again to tailor Cover Letters for specific jobs. This can be very tedious and wear you out, don’t let it. Every job is different, and so are the key requirements.
It could be the very same position but in different industries. If you use a Cover Letter tailored for the position only and not the industry, then it looks generic to employers. It may not be a deal breaker, but if another candidate took the time to include specific industry experience, employers will pick them.
For example, an Accountant job in a bank may insist on banking products knowledge, while the same position in the construction sector may insist on building & construction knowledge. Always look out for key requirements when writing the Cover Letter.
3. Employers want to see figures in your Cover Letter; the specifics
Every employer in Kenya is looking to hire someone who can perform; demonstrate results in their job. For this reason, it is important that your Cover Letter includes numbers, figures and even percentages. They always impress. What does this mean?
It means that you should always be specific. Instead of just saying you possess great leadership skills or are good with MS Word, demonstrate how good you are. For example if the job requires strong leadership skills, include that you were able to put together and manage a successful team of 25 people working in 4 regions across the country.
A secret to a good Cover Letter; focus your body to the key requirements or preferred sections of the job advert.
Selipha is a Communications Officer at Corporate Staffing Services, a leading Recruitment firm that offers CV Writing, Job Placement & Career Advice. If you have any queries, contact firstname.lastname@example.org