Summer is fast approaching and it's time to think about preparing your CV and cover letter if you want to be sure to find a summer job. But don't worry, we're here to give you some useful advice to help you write the dreaded cover letter. Don't forget, recruiters want to hire the most trustworthy and motivated candidates, who they feel will make a real contribution to the company. To your keyboards: on your marks, get set, go!
What are the characteristics of a good cover letter?
Be enthusiastic and motivated!A good cover letter should reflect your enthusiasm for the job you are applying for (you should make it clear if you are replying to a job ad or simply letting a company know that your are available if they have any job opportunities). If this is the case, the letter should show the recruiter that even though they might not necessarily need any more employees, you would be an asset to their company. You know the real reason you are interested in this job, and so does the recruiter, but they definitely don't want to read that it's because you want to go on holidays with your friends - avoid talking about money!
Important points to coverOne of the most important points to talk about in your cover letter is your availability. Even though it's maybe not a good idea to mention that you want to go on holidays with your friends, it doesn't mean you should say "I'm available all summer". There are other ways of talking about your availability which are more appreciated by employers, for example "I am available on these dates..." stating your availability and if there's a period when you're not available or busy, if you have to do resits, for example...
Recruiters want to know everything so that they can choose the right person for the job.You should talk about your ability to travel and any training or qualifications that could be useful for the job in question. If you have a driving licence, food hygiene certificate or are first aid qualified, make sure to include it in your cover letter. It's perhaps not a good idea to lie about being first aid qualified. If you have any previous work experience, make sure to talk about it! But watch out, don't copy your CV word for word, the recruiter will get bored from the repetition. However, you can explain that "thanks to this experience" you were able to "acquire" skills which transferable to the job you are applying for. If you don't have any previous work experience (which is normal as this is perhaps your first job), but the jobs you're applying for require several years of experience in a specific area (it's a vicious circle...), highlight your strengths and skills to show the recruiter that you are capable of carrying out the job just as well as someone who does have previous experience. You can also think of situations where you have been able to put these skills to good use. Don't forget to mention your extra-curricular activities, if you've ever volunteered etc. The recruiter wants to see your determination: young, dynamic candidates are the most sought-after. Last but not least, pay special attention to your spelling. Perhaps you're not a grammar guru, but even the slightest spelling mistake could take away from your credibility. Re-read your work 5,000 times (at least!) and get someone you know to check over it!
Be yourself!A cover letter should reflect your personality, so you can't just use any old template you find online. Get inspiration from other cover letters? Yes! Copy them? No! Recruiters read through stacks of cover letters and CVs every day, especially during peak times such as summer. They don't want to read the same thing with only a different name to distinguish it from the others. If you copy other templates, they will probably stop reading after a few lines. You could decide to send a creative cover letter to attract the recruiter's attention or, even better, make them smile. What's sure is that they will at least read it, simply because it's different from the others.
(You can find some ideas for creative CVs here!)