Got any samples?
I’m often asked if I have any good sample cover letters I can distribute to people. Not trying to be unhelpful here…but I always say no. Sample cover letters are a Bad Idea.
Don’t rely on sample cover letters
It is just too tempting to lift and copy parts of it that sound just great and use them in your own version. Problem is you are not the only one to think the paragraph you read in that sample cover letter you found in your Google search sounds perfect. Plenty of other people who reviewed this sample thought so too. Recruiters are wondering why they are getting several slightly different versions of the same letter from different candidates and swiftly concluding that these candidates can’t be all that good if they couldn’t manage to write an original cover letter. And they are correct!
Don’t use the same version of your cover letter for every application
A generic cover letter where it is pretty clear that you have been sending the same guff to every employer you are applying to is worse than none at all. Employers need to read your letter and think “Yes this person has some idea of what this company does, knows what is important to us AND has told me how their skills and experience would be of benefit to us”. Most clients who contact us for CV and Cover Letter writing have a generic one size fits all cover letter which has been steadily and predictably getting them no-where.
Use a template – but tailor it to each application
We recommend a 5 paragraph, one page (max) Cover Letter where you mention the name of the company you are applying to at least 3 times in the body of the letter.
So what should go in each paragraph – P1 – P5?
|P1||Reference the job and where it was advertised. Summarise your offering – e.g. 10 years experience, both in Ireland and internationally within the XXX and YYY industries. During that time you achieved AAA and BBB|
Your Work Experience– how many years – summarise how it is relevant to the job you are applying for. Mention past employers names. “I am currently ……” My current role requires me to complete XXX and YYY and I have shown that I can lead and motivate teams to deliver on aggressive sales targets which will be a key driver of success in this role at [Mention Company Name]. Prior to this I spent X years working with ABC as a XYZ”
Your Education – if relevant to the role – I hold a degree in ABC and I am a member of the Association of XXXX. I am currently undertaking a MSc in Human Resource Management and will complete my dissertation on the effect of AAA on BBB. I know this area is of particular relevance to [Mention Company Name]
Your Skills and Competencies – map them to what they said they are looking for and mirror them. Make it easy for them to see that you have what they are looking for. For example mention that you know ability to work well in a team/adaptability/ being able to work to deadlines are key to the role and that you have shown you have all of these competencies. And that you have a high level of proficiency in whatever IT applications they have said they need.
Strong finish – it’s about what you can offer them, not what you want for yourself. Summarise what you think you can bring to the role given your experience, education and skills. You are in selling mode. [Mention Company Name] again. Be confident in your closing sentence – What’s in It for THEM?
Taking the time and effort to create your own cover letter rather than swiping lines from someone else’s will make you stand out from the crowd – and help you get an interview. See our CV and Cover Letter Writing Services