The days when a blanket cover letter would cut it are long gone. Today, you need to make the best possible use of your cover letter to maximise your results. Now, if you believe that an excellent CV is all you need to get a job, better think again because shabby written cover letters are enough to throw your application in the trash can. Here are a few simple steps that you can take to customise your cover letter to get your foot in many different doors.
Identify with the Organisation
Before you do anything, first be sure that you have matched yourself to the right organisation; one that resonates with your career goals or values so that you can both enjoy and perform well at work. Getting to work should not be a struggle, so it is certainly worth it to devote some time and find out which organisation aligns with what you want out of a selected job.
Understand the Organisation
Once you have chosen several organisations, go through the job descriptions carefully as many times as necessary to make sure you address ever point. However, you should keep it simple and refrain yourself from writing too much or exaggerating. Also, don’t forget to inject keywords as you go along. Of course, the more research you show beyond the job description, the better. Try to include relevant examples about yourself. As for more factual information, direct the recruiter to particular parts of your CV.
Know the person you are writing to
Wouldn’t you be pleasantly surprised if you were a recruiter that received hundreds of cold emails on a daily basis from total strangers and then you came across an email that addressed you personally? We are not suggesting that this will get you hired 100%. However, you will shake the waters for sure! So, search online for their contact information (If you are interested in applying for jobs in the civil service, you can look for the right department to contact by browsing the Singapore Government Directory).
Now, if you are being referred to by an ex-colleague or friend, mention them, after you get permission from those people (they may be contacted by the hiring manager).
Sell Yourself Appropriately
What is so spectacular and original about you that the recruiter would want to consider you and the hiring manager hire you? Think about what others think of you, your best attributes that match the organisation’s mission and values. Why do you want that job so eagerly? How your unique skills can benefit the organisation? Be straightforward. Then deliver your answers down in short sentences, written with clarity and confidence.
Do you have a LinkedIn profile? Update it and then add a link at the bottom of the cover letter.
Have a powerful opening – The “In response to the XYZ position advertised on XYZ” openers are so widely used that you really don’t want them in your cover letter. If you want to stand out, use something similar to your branding statement, which can be easily tweaked (i.e. “With more than 8 years of bottom-line driven project management expertise…” hits three big points: addresses the organisation’s need, shares years of experience, and hits the job title on the dot).
Show that you meet the need – Introduce yourself and quickly start telling how you can meet the company’s needs based on the requirements posted in the organisation’s job description or online ad. Then show why you have the expertise they require and you claim to have, right off the bat. Note that your cover letter should give recruiters fresh Also, you could include a quote from a former employer, especially if hard-hitting and relevant (if you have already done a particular requirement noted in the job ad somewhere else and have an excellent recommendation for the work you did there, you really can’t ask for a better marketing/sales material!).
Close with professionalism – Don’t sound desperate. Instead, close your cover letter with tact, always offer follow up within a specific time frame, and make sure you include contact information in case they want to reach out to you. Finally, your closing should be polished and concise.