If you are getting ready to apply for roles as an adviser, you might be looking for tips to write a cover letter to support your initial application. In this post, we discuss the importance of writing confident cover letters, and offer some practical steps that will allow you to write a cover letter that will help you soar through the recruitment process with ease.
Do you need to write a cover letter for every application you make?
Regardless of whether a job listing asks for a cover letter, taking the time to write a tailored letter can make the difference between whether your application moves forward in the process or not. So, while it does take time to write a bespoke letter for each application you make, it is always going to be time well spent.
Why are cover letters so important?
The job market is tough for applicants, and it is an incredibly time-intensive process for employers and recruiters alike. If you consider for a moment how recruiters effectively sift through hundreds of applications for a post. Then, think about applicants who simply upload a CV and hit ‘apply’ Vs. those who write a tailored cover letter that makes it quick and easy for the recruiter to see why they are suited to the role; it is easy to see which applicant might get a better response.
Regardless of your experience or suitability for the role, if you do not take the time to make it easy for a hiring manager to see why you are a good fit and that you clearly understand the role and the business you are applying to work with; then you are not doing yourself any favours. In fact, when a recruiter is faced with screening CVs, cover letters are gold dust in terms of drawing their attention to the most relevant skills and experience on your CV.
Sure, it might take 30-60 minutes to write a cover letter, but it will be worth it should it have the desired effect of helping you progress through to the next stage in the recruitment process.
What is a Cover Letter?
A cover letter is an accompanying document that you submit with an application and/or CV when you apply for a job. It summarises your relevant experience and skills, and gives a snappy explanation of why you are the best candidate for the job.
Tips for Writing a Cover Letter
In this section, we offer practical steps about what to write in a cover letter and how to help your application stand out.
1: Preparation Counts
When you apply for a job online, you should always take a little time to learn more about the company you are making your application with. A quick glimpse of their ‘about us’ page, their ‘services’, and their ‘news’ section can give you some incredibly insightful information. Not only is this going to help you know whether or not the company is right for you.
It can also give you valuable information to include in your cover letter. For instance, if the company about us page speaks of their history, their mission, their values, their client approach, etc., you can allude to this in your cover letter. Not only will this quickly demonstrate a good fit for the role, but it also shows the recruiter that you have invested time in getting to know more about the business.
If you do progress through to the next round, you can also refer to this research in your job interview.
2: Keep it short but relevant
A good cover letter should be no more than a single page of text. As for exactly how long it should be, experts suggest no more than 400 words. It should allude to the fact you understand the role and the company, then quickly highlight why you are the right person for the job.
You can summarise relevant experience and transferrable skills in a paragraph or two and speak about how their business will benefit from having you as an employee.
3: Stick to a tried and tested format
While this is not an exact science, following the below format for each cover letter you write will ensure you include all the relevant information needed.
- Contact information
- List 2-3 of your most relevant achievements to grab their attention
- Tell them why you are the best candidate for the role – relevant skills and experience
- Speak about their company and why you are a good match – use your preparation
- Closing statement
- Use the correct formal closing statement, such as Sincerely, Best Regards, etc.
It really is this simple. There is no need to write any more than a single page and 3-4 paragraphs in total. If you can ensure you draw on the research from their company website or social media pages, this will help you stand out from other applicants as not everybody will take the time to do this.
4: Proofread everything – at least three times
It does not matter how many times you look at a document; there is nothing quite like a fresh set of eyes and another person’s perspective. Even if you are usually very good at paying attention to detail, try to have a friend or peer proofread your cover letter.
Particularly with advisery or financial services roles, the last thing you want any prospective employer to see is an error on your cover letter or CV. It can give a poor impression of your ability to pay attention to details. However, a second set of eyes can help you alleviate any issues or errors.
Job searches can be tough. They are time-consuming, and you never know whether or not you are going to hear back or how long it will take for a company to process the applications. Sometimes, rejection can come from a role you know you would have been perfectly suited for, and that can be hard to contend with.
However, with the right preparation, a compelling cover letter, and a strong CV, you can feel confident that you are giving your all to each and every application you make. Writing a good CV is just as important as putting together a good cover letter. Although it takes time to tailor your CV and cover letter for each role you apply for, it can and will make a big difference to the outcomes and responses you receive.