Five vital tips for writing a compelling cover letter

News by Neville Rose

Neville Rose, director of CV Writers, gives advice on what makes an appealing introductory letter for IT security professionals.

Cover letters still play an essential role in an increasingly automated recruitment process. Here at CV Writers our research revealed that one in three recruiters would read a CV only if they are impressed by a cover letter first. So don't take that chance and make sure you include a cover letter alongside your application.

Keep your letter short

A few jobseekers still believe you have a better chance of being called to interview if you have a long cover letter. However, a brief letter tends to have more impact. Three or four paragraphs and definitely no longer than one side of A4 is apt. The recruiter will make a decision on whether to call you for an interview in a matter of seconds so it's better to leave out lots of detail that is unlikely to be read.

What should I include in my cover letter?

The aim of your cover letter is to prove how you can meet the requirements of the person specification. You will be assessed against this criteria, so showing how you meet this needs to be your main priority in the letter. Be sure to carefully read the person specification and summarise how you match this.

Examples are crucial

It's easy to say we can do something but proving it is a different matter. That's when providing examples comes in. It's vital to demonstrate your relevant achievements by using examples in a cover letter. By doing this, the reader sees how you can flourish with concrete evidence set before them.

What about including personal circumstances?

It is usually better to only incorporate personal circumstances if it is likely to have a positive impact on your application. You should avoid raising unnecessary question marks with the reader. So usually it is better to avoid discussing any personal circumstances in your letter. These are best left to the interview stage.

How about the call to action?

Think of your cover letter as an introduction to your CV. You want to end the letter by nudging the reader in the direction of your CV to discover more about you. It is only after reading your CV that the reader will decide on whether to call you for interview.

If you would like help with your CV, cover letter or LinkedIn profile, CV Writers can help through a variety of CV services

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