First things first, your cover letter is an addition to your CV, not an afterthought. As much preparation must go into its construction and wording as your CV!
Gone are the days when jobs were plentiful and you could include a cover letter that said “Please find enclosed my CV”. Now, the cover letter has to do 50% of the work.
Whereas your CV is a chronological, information based document that will showcase your career history, areas of expertise and education, the letter is your voice. It can be a little less formal and is an ideal opportunity to identify big achievements that are directly related to the job being advertised. It’s the tool to articulate your passion, drive and determination and to pinpoint one or two areas that you want the world to know.
It can be especially useful if you are looking for a change in career as it can explain dreams and ambitions and transferable skills before anyone reads your CV that might not adequately communicate that you can be successful in a role you’ve never done.
To accompany an executive CV, the letter should effectively connect the reader with quantifiable, perfectly chosen accomplishments that prove your worth. It is a document that explains how you would add value to their organisation and subsequently what sets you apart from other potential candidates.
The cover letter is your ideal platform to express your leadership style and results gained within your team environment. It can expertly identify and demonstrate your exposure to differing markets, sectors, industries and seniority. It is also a helpful tool in directing the reader to your key areas of expertise and experience by expanding on particular skill sets.
Utilising powerful and compelling words help the reader to feel confident in your ability, using bold and persuasive sentences captivate your audience, couple this with a well key worded document and this allows the cover letter to be applied in all manner of circumstances, typically, online, via recruitment agencies and directly to the advertising organisation.
Essentially, when constructing your text, bear in mind these simple questions:
“Why should the recruiter see you?”
“What sets you apart?”
“What have you achieved?”
“What can you do for the company?”
Ask yourself, why you? And make sure that, once you proof read it, the letter says… that’s why!
In essence, the letter helps to flesh out the staccato CV and will portray what lies beneath basic facts and figures. Get the balance correct and they will be eagerly awaiting the interview. Many interviewers will choose their candidates and will have a picture in their mind that you are already the one, solely based on these two documents. Once in the interview, it’s up to you to back it all up.