The value of a cover letter tends to divide recruiters. In research we carried out at CV Writers two thirds of recruiters would read a CV regardless of whether a cover letter was included. However, a third of recruiters would only read a CV if accompanied by a compelling cover letter. The advice therefore has to be not to take the chance and always include a cover letter with your application.
Your cover letter should be no more than three to four paragraphs; keep it concise and to the point. Remember: a CV and cover letter are about securing an interview, not securing the job. Only expand on the points from your CV which showcase your achievements and key skills relevant to the post.
So what information to include?
You have to make sure that what you include is aligned with the person specification of the role you are applying for. This is what your application will be assessed against. It is vital to read the person specification carefully and make sure you provide hard evidence of how you meet these criteria. Focus on what your core skills and strengths are.
Use case studies
Try to use real life examples to illustrate your skills and competencies. If you can show how you affect business improvement and change through case studies this is much more powerful than just claiming to have certain strengths. Anything from major office moves completed on-time, on-budget and with minimal downtime to meeting and exceeding service targets. If you can support your skills with hard facts and figures your application will be all the more appealing.
Should I include information about my personal circumstances?
As a rule of thumb, you only should include information that will further your application. You are protected by the Equality Act so there is certainly no need to reveal anything about yourself with regard to age, sex, race or disability. You want your application to be assessed purely on your ability to do the job.
The call to action
Always remember that the primary aim of any covering letter is to get the recruiter to read your CV; you don’t have to go into reams and reams of detail; you just have to give enough to make the recruiter want to find out more.
This article is written by Neville Rose, Director of CV Writers. If you need help with your CV or LinkedIn profile CV Writers are the official partner to FM World Jobs and provide a CV writing service.