Four tips to make an impact with your Cover Letter
Covering letters are a statement about your motivation and give recruiters important evidence about your personal reasons as to why you are applying for the role. Describing your motivation adequately is therefore crucial. Here are our 4 most valuable tips to create relevant and interesting covering letters.
1. Be original
Covering letters should explain your motivation to work in a certain job for a specific company and your qualifications for this job. If you can replace the name of the company for any other and your covering letter remains exactly the same, you have not tailored it to that company well enough and will be unlikely to succeed. Do some research and find something about the position or company that you can relate to directly in your letter.
2. Include a clear structure
The letter should cover the following three parts:
- About you - What you offer and examples of achievements to demonstrate your credentials
- About the job - Why does it appeal to you? What do you understand about it?
- About the company - What attracts you to them? Why are they succeeding as a business and why is that appealing?
3. Be precise
- Give examples to quantify your skills (e.g., “I developed excellent communication skills by working directly with clients on a daily basis to analyse their financial statements.”)
- Show achievement (e.g., “I created a report for my manager and he implemented the new recommendations.”)
- Show leadership through your extracurricular activity (e.g., captain of the football team, managed a team of four on a humanitarian expedition.)
- Tailor your letter to highlight skills they ask for in their job description.
- Do not write a covering letter that is longer than one page. You can consider this a rule!
- Proofread your covering letter to ensure that there are no spelling mistakes. Once you have proofread it, proofread it again!
- Make sure that you are sending the letter to the right company!
- Avoid writing generic sentences that could apply to any company (e.g. “I want to be a Consultant because it will help give me a diverse career.”)
- Be detailed, but not to the point where you lose relevancy. A simple introduction and closing allows more room for the details of your letter. You want to use this space to tell them about you and to bring your CV to life.
4. Show insight
Be sure to show an understanding of the industry (e.g., “I want to work in strategic marketing after my internship at Sony. While there, I enjoyed taking a step back and researching competitors, and then formulating a plan to help the promotion to a target audience.”).
Say why a particular job or industry is important to you (e.g., “I want to work in a Consultancy because I want to use my experience in the pharmaceutical industry and be able to apply this knowledge to solving client problems.”).
5. Stay with your tasks
To give employers a good overview of your skills, it is best to describe the tasks you have performed. Describing the skills you used in past employment does not give any evidence of your experience—it is hard for employers to understand what you actually did in a role. Instead, use action-orientated sentences to describe what you did in order to highlight your skills to the employer (e.g., “Co-ordinated with the sales team on a daily basis by leading the morning meeting.”)
6. Try to be as precise as possible
Don’t use buzz words and try to avoid general or vague vocabulary like “supported”, “assisted” etc., rather try to describe your tasks as concrete as possible. Be careful with adjectives as well—words like ‘dynamic’ or ‘interpersonal’ are overused and do not tell the employer anything about you.
"What makes a good covering letter?"
"Most important for us is to be able to understand your passion for consulting and why you want to become a member of our Accenture Community. Present yourself! What are your goals and how do you think they will match with ours?"
“Be authentic, straight and to the point. Recruiters don’t want to read redundant or sophisticated phrases. Highlight your strengths with examples from your professional experience and individually point out why you are the right candidate for the specific position and company.”
“There are four aspects we consider as we look for new people to join the firm: personal impact, entrepreneurial drive, problem-solving skills, and leadership abilities.”