Cover letters aren’t often seen as a key element to landing a new job – that honour usually goes to our CV or resume.

But you shouldn’t discount or overlook the importance of a cover letter. After all, many employers, hiring managers and recruiters still ask for them. Plus, it could be the differentiating factor between you landing the role or someone else beating you to it.

So in order to write a strong and effective cover letter, use these following tips.

Find strong cover letter examples you like

If you have no idea where to start or how to structure your cover letter, you might want to find some examples that resonate with you and the role you are applying for. There’s no harm in following their lead, particularly when it’s a strong example, just avoid copying or plagiarising someone else’s work. Also be aware of sounding like everyone else. More on this below.

Personalise and tailor

If your cover letter isn’t personalised (addressed to the specific hiring manager and company) or tailored (written for that specific role), it will read as general and basic. Related to this is the opportunity to match the job requirements to your unique set of skills and experience.

Keep your cover letter concise

This is not the place for essays or lengthy paragraphs. Think of it as a teaser of the best information in your CV or resume – it can mirror your major achievements but leave the reader wanting more.

Some experts recommend 4 paragraphs in total but adapt this to your own background and preference.

Copy-proof and edit

Grab a red pen, release your inner editor and get to town copy-proofing your cover letter. You should be on the look out for spelling and grammatical errors, flow issues, formatting errors and anything that just doesn’t sound right. Be critical, put yourself in the shoes of the hiring manager and embrace the fact that it will likely take you several rounds of editing before you come to your strongest version. This level of attention to detail will impress your hiring manager or recruiter.

RELATED: The dos and don’ts of acing your next job interview

Add your personal touch

How do you remain professional in your cover letter but still manage to get a sense of your personality across?

Use of tone, conveying enthusiasm and even considering the design of your cover letter (free templates are available on Canva) are fresh ways to make your cover letter stand out from the pack.

Put it to the test

Look to your trusted mentor or friend for an honest opinion of your cover letter. Ultimately, you want to give them your final version, i.e. the best possible version you could come up with, and then take their feedback into account for any changes if necessary. Separate from spelling and grammatical errors, you want to ask them if they found the information, tone and presentation compelling. If not, what’s missing? And did you communicate everything in the best possible way?

Want to revamp your resume with some of our fresh tips? Read more here.

If you’re ready for your next role, take a look at our current opportunities or get in touch with one of our specialist recruitment consultants.

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