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How to craft a compelling cover letter.

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During the job application process, you should always submit a cover letter alongside your resume. This is particularly important when you’re applying for more competitive, senior positions.

A carefully crafted cover letter allows you to grab the recruiter’s attention and explain to them why you're the best candidate for the job.

But this will only happen if it’s well-written, so your cover letter needs to be persuasive, concise, and engaging. That’s a lot of pressure on just a few sentences, but getting it right will boost your chances of getting a response.

Here is how to craft a compelling cover letter, along with some top tips to increase your chances of securing an interview.

Understand how to set out your cover letter

Your cover letter should appear in the body of an email or as a message if you’re applying through a job site. You should avoid attaching your letter as a separate document, otherwise the recipient is unlikely to read it.

It’s also important that you keep your cover letter short and sweet, remembering that recruiters are busy people and they have to review a lot of applications every day.

With that in mind, it’s best to stick to between 4 and 6 short and snappy sentences.

Make your subject line appealing

The first thing the recruiter will see when they open their inbox is the subject line and a bad subject can instantly ruin your chances of them opening your email at all.

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Instead, you need to stand out and give them a reason to read on.

Don’t simply label the email with the job title or the phrase ‘job application’. Go one step further to prove you are the perfect candidate in just a few words.

What this means is providing a subject line that is a short summary of your experience. For example, ‘project manager with 15 years experience’ or ‘web developer with JavaScript experience’.

Kick-off with a strong introduction

The purpose of your cover letter is to engage the reader instantly and make them want to review your resume and get to know more about you.

So you need to kick off with a strong introduction.

This means addressing the recipient by their name, whether that’s the hiring manager or the employer. You might need to do a little research to find this information, either using the job description, LinkedIn, or the company website.

You should also try to steer clear of overly formal greetings like “Dear sir/madam” and instead, take a professional but friendly tone starting with ‘hello’ or ‘hi’.

Next, your introductory sentence should outline which role you're applying for and demonstrate what makes you the most suitable candidate for the role.

Crafting a compelling cover letter can be the key to securing your next role.

Showcase your most relevant skills and experience

It can be tricky to know what to include in your cover letter , but the body of your email (or message) should be made up of three or four sentences that highlight your key skills and experience.

You can use the job description to determine which skills and abilities are most important to the employer. That way, you can highlight these and show them what you have to offer.

You should also provide examples from past roles that prove how your previous experience has shaped you and made you the ideal candidate.

Just remember that you only have a few sentences in which to impress them, so first focus on any requirements that are essential to the job. That way, the reader can instantly see that you’re a good fit.

This will encourage them to open your resume.

End with a strong call to action

You should conclude your letter by once again expressing your enthusiasm for the role and stating your desire to secure a personal interview.

Remember, recruiters are busy people, so it’s also important to thank them for taking the time to read and consider your application.

Proofread your letter very carefully

Once you've finished writing your cover letter, you need to proofread it thoroughly to make sure there are no errors. In fact, it’s best to do this several times.

A polished and compelling cover letter should not have any spelling or grammatical mistakes.

This looks unprofessional and sloppy, so take the time to re-read your application. You might even consider using an online spell checker or have a friend or family member review your letter before you send it off, just to be sure.

A well-structured cover letter, complete with tailored, impactful writing is the key to standing out in a crowded job market, and help you to land a job quicker than the average time of 3.8 months.

So, if you hope to secure an interview, be sure to use these tips and insights to craft an engaging and compelling cover letter. It may only be a few sentences long, but it really can give you a competitive edge.

Andrew Fennell

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