Get ahead with your graduate scheme applications and perfect your superstar cover letter. But where to start? We’ve listed some of our dos and don’ts when it comes to writing a professional cover letter…
Be clear and concise: Your cover letter is an opportunity to put across information which you couldn’t portray in your CV, and it should take up no more than one full page of A4. Try to keep your cover letter straight to the point and don’t waste space talking about aspects which are not relevant to the job role. Remember be clear and concise!
Personalise each cover letter you submit: The likelihood is the job role you are applying for might not be the only position you are looking at (which is perfectly fine). However, your cover letter has got to be tailored to the organisation, as HR recruiters will be able to easily spot applications with little or no thought towards the specific role.
Proofread: One of the most common cover letter errors is simple grammatical mistakes made by candidates. Ultimately, this can show a lacklustre approach to the application and will immediately push the focus of your cover letter away from your skills. Its great practice to print off your cover letter and thoroughly run through it. Don’t forget to get a close friend or family member to look at it for a second opinion.
Demonstrate why you’re the perfect candidate: It’s vital that you showcase the value you could bring to the business, and importantly what are your unique selling points. Focussing on how your skills align with the job role and what makes you different to the other candidates will make your cover letter stand out from the rest. You’ll need to back up why you are the perfect candidate, with examples of when you have put your skills to the test.
Rely on spell check: It would be unwise to rely on spell check, missing words or minor typos can slip through the reach of your cover letter copy checking. Be sure to stick to the proofreading tips we mentioned in the earlier dos section.
Exaggerate: It can be easy to get carried away when creating your cover letter but try not to overstate your skills or achievements beyond what you have achieved. Exaggeration can provide an easy way for graduate recruiters to tell if you have been honest in your cover letter once they quiz you during the interview process. Stay true to current credentials and keep everything throughout your cover letter positive and relevant to the job role.
Regurgitate your CV: One of the most common mistakes candidates can make is to regurgitate information straight from their CV, in some cases, people will go to the lengths of merely copying and pasting the info in. This isn’t what your potential employers want to see… what they do want to see is examples to back up the previous positions on your CV and how these can be relatable to the job role in question.
So, there you have it, some of our top dos and don’ts when writing a professional cover letter. If you follow these guidelines you can begin to take the steps to secure your dream graduate job.
If you didn’t already know, Our Managing Director, Sophie Milliken, is launching her first book From Learner to Earner on Thursday 5 September. A recruitment insider’s guide for students wanting to achieve graduate job success. Available to buy from Amazon and Waterstones.