0You’ve seen your dream job advertised, and your CV is in great shape, but there’s still one more thing to ensure your application is perfect – a great cover letter. So how can you make this short but vital piece of the puzzle work best for you? Here are our top tips.

Get the right name

Getting the crucial details right is key to showing a prospective employer how thorough you are. There should be a contact name on the job advert that you are responding to so make sure you use it and address your cover letter directly to that person. If no name is mentioned, don’t be afraid to call the company and ask who you should be sending it to. When you find out, double check the spelling to make sure you’ve got this person’s name correct. Remember, as the celebrated American writer, Dale Carnegie said, “A person’s name is to that person, the sweetest, most important sound in any language”.

Don’t rehash your CV

The cover letter is not the place to repeat information. So don’t pick out the highlights of your CV and regurgitate them. Instead, think about what they should know about you that isn’t in the CV itself. What important qualities do you have that would be useful for this job? Do you have passion or experience outside of work that would relate to their company in particular? A nugget of information here could make you stand out from the crowd.

It’s not all about you

The cover letter is the place to show this business that you’ve been thinking about them too. Talk about what attracts you to working for them, why you’d be a good fit and projects or work of theirs that you admire. If they’ve just run a big ad campaign that caught your eye, it’s great to mention that and show you’ve been paying attention. If you’re applying for a marketing role, a good grasp of how they use social media, or digital advertising might be useful to mention. It’s your chance to show them you’re engaged with what the company does and how its perceived by the world.

Shine a light on your big achievement

If you’ve been working for your current employer on a particular project that shows what an asset you are, mention it here. Doing this won’t be a retreading ground on your CV, but will demonstrate that you can bring value to a company. Perhaps you recently won a contract worth several thousand pounds or secured a piece of press that would have garnered major brand awareness for your company. Think about those specific achievements, name them and then relate them to the work you could do for the prospective employer.

Keep it brief

It may seem like a lot to fit into a small space, but brevity is key. A good communicator can deliver the most important nuggets of information concisely and engage their reader. Your covering letter should run to one page, be around three or four paragraphs long and deliver a real punch to the reader. After all, there’s a good chance your application is one of hundreds, so you want to stand out in your cover letter and make a great first impression.