By Jessie Willans on Fri 23 November 2018 in Placement Blog
Craving that stand out cover letter, but not too sure how to go about it? To help you craft the most outstanding placement application, read our Top 6 Tips for Creating an Awesome Cover Letter to ensure success!
These are tips from our very own placement students, and having been through the gruelling process themselves, they really know how hard it can be. If you ensure you take on-board these tips, there’s no doubt you’ll be receiving many successful responses!
So, don't panic, remember we're here to help! Lets get started...
Tip 1 – Personalisation to the company!
It’s time to get 100% personal. To ensure you snap up your dream job & have successful applications, you MUST personalise your cover letter to the company. This is VITAL.
It’s so important to tailor your cover letter to the company by making consistent links and references throughout. This shows genuine effort and honest interest! So many applications fail because students haven’t targeted the employer.
So, you may be thinking, what do I include? Consider these questions below, answering them concisely and enthusiastically:
- What do you know about the company?
- What about that company really inspires you?
- Why do you want to work for them in particular?
- What can you bring to the company?
We know firsthand that it’s a lengthy process, but it’s so worth putting in that extra effort. Great personalisation will ensure you’ll be a stand out candidate!
Tip 2 – Showcase your skills & interest in the job role!
It’s your time to shine! Making links to the job role and referencing your own skills will help you go far in the application process. It’s SO important to show a sincere interest in the job role by linking elements of the job description that appeal to you, as well as linking the skills you acquire, to those asked for! Showing the skills you’ve developed from University, work experience, employment or any other extracurricular activity, will really emphasise your personality, positive attitude and critical thinking!
Nonetheless, you should pull certain elements out of the job description that really appeal to you! What excited and inspires you about the job role? Not only does this show off your enthusiasm and knowledge, it also shows your attention to detail and the effort you’ve put into the application. Adding in a few brief elements about the job and company isn’t enough – be specific and detailed, it will make all the difference!
Showcase your brilliant skills, demonstrate why you are the best choice and ultimately, highlight your employability!
Tip 3 – Make sure you understand the role you’re applying for!
This tip is all about you, knowing your stuff! It’s so important to make sure you understand the role you’re applying to. This will not only help you decide if the job is right for you, it’ll show employers your genuine efforts, critical understanding of the position and enthusiasm.
Employers won’t hire someone who has no idea what they’re looking for or talking about, but particularly someone who doesn’t know much about the job role or didn’t do any research!
Highlight something you noticed about their particular job – pull out details and link these to your relevant skills. This is crucial because the last thing you want is to be hired for a job that you really have no interest in. Therefore, make sure you’re super clear about the job requirements and responsibilities, and this will help you understand what you really want in a role.
Tip 4 – Market yourself, be real & have fun!
Literally, just be you! Never shy away from what makes you, you! Employers want to see what makes you unique, so remember in all stages of applications, just be yourself and let your personality shine through.
This is super important because you want to not only show the employer who you are, but so you can both make sure you’ll work well together. Think, what makes you stand out from the crowd? Really highlight your personality – think energy, enthusiasm and positivity! Honesty is key, and if you make sure you’re 100% yourself, you’ll find the perfect company for you!
To help with this, try to think of yourself as a brand. How do you want to come across? What lasting impression do you want to make? What makes you vibrantly stand out from the others?
Create your own brand and market yourself to employers. Highlight all of your best qualities and be true to who you are!
Tip 5 – Give detail with depth!
Never just list your work experience, hobbies & interests in bullet points, and never bullet point the skills you’ve learnt under these! To show off your responsibilities and valuable skill set, use in-depth detail and examples to provide insight.
Whilst it’s great to highlight these skills and responsibilities, you need to think, what does this tell the employer about me? It’s so important to say what they’ve taught you, and how they’ve helped you to develop as a person. You should also emphasise how these skills could be transferred to the role you’re applying to.
Every time you highlight a skill or talk about an experience, ask yourself, does this have any relevance? Does this add any value? What does this show about me? Employers want insight, so show off your attention to detail by using in-depth but concise reflection and evaluation. Try to link your responsibilities to your skill set and consider how they contributed to its valuable development.
Tip 6 – Proof read every tiny detail & look at your structure!
This really is one of the most important tips so far. You must remember to proof read every little detail and element of your application! Little mistakes can have big impacts.
Spelling, punctuation and grammar mistakes in your cover letter creates a cause for concern, and it will produce doubt in the employers’ mind over your ability to ensure accurate attention to detail. Especially if you spell the company name wrong!
Make sure you proof read your application, and get someone to check over it before you send it off. Having a second eye scan over your cover letter, whether it’s a friend, tutor or family member, will really help make sure that your cover letter reads fluently and concisely. Ensure you read your sentences out loud to see if your punctuation and vocabulary reads with clarity. Most importantly, remember to not use words if you don’t 100% understand them!
Additionally, the way in which you structure your cover letter is vital to make sure that your application reads with logic and fluidity. It’s important to not just chuck a load of different topics and points into one paragraph, this will make your application look messy. You need to organise your paragraphs so each one tells the employer something new; group ideas together under relevant topics/themes. For example, for a different paragraph you could consider:
- What job are you applying for and what do you know about the company?
- Why do you want to work for them?
- What skills and experience can you bring?
- What makes you the best choice?
Use connectives to make sentences flow better and link each point back to what this shows about you. Having a structure will allow the employer to clearly understand your points and intentions, and it will also show your ability to be able to produce a professional, yet detailed layout.
The tiny details make a huge difference!