Writing a covering letter for a job can feel like a daunting task, but it plays an essential role in the application process and can really draw the recruiters attention to your skills and experience. At Designers 4 Designers, we see all types of covering letters, from one liners to two page essays.
However, it doesn’t need to be an arduous task, the best ones have all the information required but are delivered in a succinct way. Here, I have outlined my essential 6 points to follow when writing your covering letter.
1. Make it specific
You should always aim to address it to someone, even if they are not stated on the job advert. Try and research who it should go to. Equally important is that should apply for a specific role, either a role you have seen advertised or if it’s a speculative application, reference the position you are looking for.
2. Only apply once
If you are applying for a role via a recruitment agency, only apply for one job. Recruiters will always consider you for other roles they have available. At Designers 4 Designers, we will always meet prospective candidates in person so that we can get to know their experience, approach and career motivations. Quite often we have a role that is more suited to a candidate than the one they applied for.
3. Less is more
Your covering letter should be no more than two paragraphs, unless the recruiter has requested specific information to be included, which is rare. Don’t be tempted to write a single line for a covering letter, this will never provide the recruiter with sufficient information to go on and will make your application appear rushed.
4. Cut to the chase
Your opening paragraph should introduce yourself and outline your current situation. It should state your current role and experience, what you’re looking for, where you’ve seen the advert, whether you want a freelance or permanent role, your current availability and salary expectations. The content should effectively mirror your profile piece on your CV, but should also be tailored to the job you’re applying for, which can be covered in the second paragraph. If you want a more senior role than you’re doing but it’s in the same sector, highlight why you feel you can step up. If you are looking for a different role, such as a change in job or change in sector, explain why and highlight your relevant skills.
5. Send work examples
When you’re applying for a job, send through a PDF with a selection of your work examples, you don’t need to send the whole portfolio. We always meet our candidates face-to-face so this is the ideal opportunity to talk through your portfolio in detail. You can include links to your work on LinkedIn for example, but don’t make this the only way to view your work. Recruiters receive hundreds of CVs a week. If you send a pdf, it saves the recruiter time and means they can come back to you quicker.
6. Encourage that phone call
Always include your email address and phone number on the covering letter. We get lots of applications and often have to hunt around for contact details. It is also useful if you can highlight when we can best contact you, to avoid that awkward moment when you’re in the office and need to make an excuse.
Providing all the relevant information and delivering it in a clear and concise manner is the key to a successful covering letter and will being you one step closer to securing your next role. If you are starting your job search and haven’t yet sent through your details to us yet, please get in touch via the form at the bottom of the page.