All written applications should contain a covering letter. In the sequence of preparing the various documents to be sent to an employer, most people leave the letter to last. There is good reason for this strategy, as the letter should be a summary of your main claims to the position that will be expanded in the following documents. While there are some key elements that should be included in a covering letter, the style of expression and the ideas conveyed should always be targeted to meet the interests of the employer and to capture their interest in what you have to offer. Market yourself.
Elements of a covering letter
- Reason for writing
- Who you are
- Highlight relevant skills and experience in relation to the position or needs of the organisation
- Your interest in and knowledge of the organisation
- Refer to any documents you have enclosed
- Express a willingness for an interview
- Be enthusiastic and positive
Some tips to consider
- The letter should be one A4 page in length
- Personalise your letter, try to find a name to address your letter to
- Check spelling and grammar
- Don't apologise for qualities, qualifications or experience you do not have, emphasize those you do.
- Don't repeat exactly what's in the resume.
- While there are formulas - don't be afraid to deviate, adapt each letter to the specific job or organisation, don't copy letters from resume publications. Employers recognise them, so be a professional and write your own letter.
- Keep a copy of every letter you write. Re-read it before the interview.
- Observe proper business conventions:
- If addressed to a person's name end letter "Yours sincerely"
- If addressed "Dear Sir/Madam" end letter "Yours faithfully"
When e-mailing your resume to an employer, your e-mail may become the cover letter. You will use a different style of writing for e-mails. The language tends to be more informal but be mindful of creating first impressions. Most people don't expect to read much more than a screen length e-mail message, so you will need to be more succinct.