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cover letters
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writing cover letters
recruitment consultant
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experience qualifications
hiring manager
curriculum vitae
preferred method
first instance
Preparing Cover Letters For Job Applications
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When applying for vacancies with recruitment agencies or directly with employers sending a curriculum vitae is often the preferred method of application, however a cover letter can often be as important and should also be sent. A cover letter will often be read by the employer or recruiter before they look at your CV and as they often just scan through applications in the first instance a poor cover letter can mean they will not even read the CV.

A cover letter should simply be a brief introduction, but it is also a powerful sales tool and should leave the recruiter or employer eager to read the CV and find out more. Where as a CV may be re-written for different job applications, they will contain the same standard information about you, your experience, qualifications and achievements, a cover letter should be written for each individual vacancy. However, if you are writing a cover letter to send to a recruitment agency it should be different to ones you would send to employers. When applying to a recruitment agency, you may be responding to a vacancy you have seen advertised, although the agency may also have other vacancies they could also consider you for.

A few key points for writing cover letters are;

All Cover Letters; keep it concise, one page and no more, briefly explain who you are for example;. experienced sales professional, ambitious engineering graduate, state your current or last employment and duties and some key achievements, but only briefly, they can find out more if they read the CV. Where appropriate provide facts to back up any claims e.g. 'last year I was the highest billing sales executive generating £1,000,000 of revenue'. If possible address the letter to an individual using their title, if you do not have a name use Sir or Madam, avoid impersonal titles such as Hiring Manager or Recruitment Consultant. Your contact details including phone numbers should be clearly visible with how to contact you. State when you are available for interviews and when you are available to start. Remember you do not have much space so do not waste it with jargon like 'good communicator', 'team worker', 'able to work on own initiative' or any other meaningless and over used phrases, they mean nothing without facts, show a lack of imagination and will just bore the life out of most recruiters.

Direct Employer Vacancies; a letter to an employer is usually just for a specific vacancy therefore the cover letter should reflect your suitability for this role, even if your key skills are elsewhere. Highlight any experience, qualifications or skills which are relevant to the vacancy and company and show that you have conducted some research, e.g. 'In my previous role with XYZ Ltd. I successfully managed teams of engineers in the power generation industry'. Even if the majority of your experience has been in unrelated employment do not focus on this in the cover letter. Explain why the company and the vacancy appeal to you and why you would be the best candidate.

Recruitment Agencies; cover letters to recruitment agencies, although still concise, should contain more information covering the major points of your CV. This is a great opportunity to inform the recruiter know what you are looking for in your next position; e.g. a particular town or city or are you willing to relocate, current salary and your expectations, the type of company you would like to work for etc. There is still the need to sell yourself and to convince the recruiter that they can sell you to their clients.


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