Cover letters are the first chance you have to stand out from the crowd and impress a potential employer or recruiter. Cover letters are your opportunity to not only show that you have the experience and knowledge needed to do the job well, but that you’re also passionate, charismatic and well-informed about the company.
For many people, though, it’s a daunting task. With so much information to convey, where do you get started?
Here’s my guide on what to include and how to format them.
What would I do?
With a cover letter, I could easily sit here and tell you what to write. But if you are anything like me, you learn more efficiently by seeing actual examples of one in practice.
So I thought, why not. In theory If there was an opportunity to work with a fantastic, fast growing business say by the name of Plant & Bean and they were seeking an energetic, hungry and enthusiastic Recruitment Partner to help them with their future growth – here is what I would do! (bit of a cheeky plug there but nothing ventured nothing gained)
1. Contact information
I would not make them dig through my cover letter to find my name and contact information. It’s at the top clear as day so it’s easy for them to reach out to me
“To Whom It May Concern”. Absolutely not!! In today’s world there is no excuse for using this lazy opening line. A simple search of LinkedIn and I know the HR Director of Plant & Bean is Liz Tomlinson. You can do exactly the same to find the hiring manager’s name for your role, failing that the name of the Recruiter – don’t be lazy.
3. Intro paragraph
You have to stand out. Hiring managers like Liz will be extremely busy sifting through hundreds of CV’s and applications – how will yours stand out? Make it clear that you know who the company is, what they do and what they care about. If someone at the company has referred you, this is the place to name drop them as every business loves a referral.
4. Body paragraph
Mention a few roles, projects, experiences, traits or passions that make you the ideal candidate. Incorporate keywords directly from the job description and emphasise the impact you have had.
5. The metrics paragraph
Include concrete metrics that illustrate the results you’ve achieved and how they will benefit from your expertise. This is not war and peace, this needs to be sharp and to the point.
6. Closing paragraph
Prompt the reader to move forward with your application by inviting them to follow up with you, and thank them for reviewing your letter (**cough Liz**)
7. Sign off
Always sign off your letter with your name and signature, not only does it give a professional look but also conveys a personal touch
So there you have it, my tips on How to write a cover letter. I have used an example of how I would write a cover letter. Of course Plant & Bean have not advertised this position but the moment they do, I will be ready!
I really hope you have found this useful, if you need any help at all constructing your letter then get in touch with me and we can talk it through
Cover letters should be clean and easy to read and keep it to one page. Feel free to hyperlink to your LinkedIn profile, website or portfolio
Save your cover letters as PDF’s, that way if your recipient should open it on another operating system like a Mac or Windows vice versa, it will not throw out the formatting and you can rest easy knowing they are impressed with your shiny cover letter and will be in touch shortly!!
(Note: If Liz does read this and gets in touch – I will let you know 😂)
Director of Food Recruit
I’m an independent owner of Food Recruit. Passionate about the Food & Drink industry having spent time as a Supply Chain Manager and Business Development Manager for two of the UK’s largest meat importers. High Care, Low Care, Chilled and Ambient I have worked across all markets including B2B, Foodservice, Wholesale and Retail.
I fell into recruitment in 2016 to start a Food & Drink desk in a long standing Engineering Recruitment business in the West Midlands. Progressing on to Business Development Manager covering multiple markets before starting my own agency in September 2020.