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How to write a cover letter for a job application

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The cover letter is possibly the most important part of the job application process. Not only is it your first point of contact with a potential employer, it is the precursor to your CV and could be the difference between securing an interview and having your application confined to the scrap heap.
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The purpose of the cover letter is to introduce yourself to a prospective employer within the context of the specific work environment. An effective cover letter should interest the reader, concisely explain why you are well suited to the role and state your motivation for wanting to work for the organisation.
Your cover letter shouldn't be a generic template applicable to any role you apply for. Rather, it should be a specifically tailored piece relating your skills and qualifications to the organisation and the requirements of the advertised role. The letter should demonstrate how you as an employee would align with the company.
It is essential that a cover letter demonstrates that you have researched both the organisation and the advertised role. Your task as a job applicant is then to evidence your ability to effectively and positively communicate what distinguishes you from other applicants in a concise and uncomplicated manner.
Cover letters follow a specific format. Straying excessively from this format in an attempt to distinguish yourself from other applicants can backfire and annoy the reader; certainly not a desirable reaction to an application.
Pay close attention to the requirements laid out for the advertised position. Focus on emphasising how your skills, experience and abilities align with the requirements of the employer. You should, however be able to substantiate any statements or claims made in your cover letter.
Draft your cover letter alongside your CV. It is important that the cover letter isn't a summary of what is stated in your CV. Rather the CV should provide the 'hard evidence' of your qualifications and experience while the cover letter should pique the employer's interest and encourage them to read further.
Your cover letter must be a positive representation. Therefore avoid negative language and be careful to not sound desperate for the job.
In the competitive modern job market presenting an exceptional, well researched cover letter is your best chance of securing an interview for your dream job.
Always address your cover letter to the appropriate person.
State your name, address and contact details on your cover letter. Employers won't spend time finding out how to contact you.
Write your cover letter as if you were the interviewer. Answer the question: 'Why should I hire you?'
Your cover letter should be typed and presented in the form of a standard business letter and should be no longer than a single page.
Limit the use of the word 'I'.
Spelling and grammar errors must be eliminated. These are major red flags for employers.
Ensure the employer's name and title are spelled correctly.
Don't make claims in your cover letter that you can't substantiate.


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