It can be a challenge to find your place in an increasingly competitive job market. However, it's a challenge you must be willing to accept if you want to find a job. Years of study and a CV full of experience are no longer enough to convince recruiters, who don't have enough time in the day to get through the amount of applications they receive - you need to go the extra mile if you want to stand out. "Don't tell me you're motivated, prove it!", cry recruiters as they post jobs online. All the more reason to have a convincing cover letter at the ready...
Cover Letter: A challenge in itself...Writing a cover letter is a much more difficult task than you might imagine. Following the golden rules of writing a cover letter is a must: clarity, conciseness and written coherence. A solid structure, with defined paragraphs detailing each of your the points you wish to convey, will have the double advantage of offering a quality piece of writing that is not only easy to read for the recruiter, but also displays your ability to summarise effectively. The content of cover letter should match the structure. Each paragraph should cover a specific point. It is commonly agreed that: ♦ The 1st paragraph should describe what attracted you about the job. ♦ The 2nd should show what you can add to the company. ♦ The 3rd acts as a link towards your CV, allowing you to talk about your education and experience. Don't forget to write in a formal tone. On the same note, there's nothing worse than going too over the top and sounding as though you've just stepped out of another era. The best cover letters are those that are short and to the point!
Standard cover letter... standard rejection!Now that you know all the basics, it's time to adapt the tone and content of your cover letter to suit whoever it is addressed to. Although you might think that having a standard cover letter will save you time, the effect will actually be the complete opposite. This type of cover letter will only lead the reader through the meanders of banality and stereotypical phrases. Let's not even get started on candidates who decide to use cover letters as a means to boast about their crazy originality when applying for a job in finance or their uptight nature when applying for a job in a child activity centre. In other words, everything that companies despise. You can find tips for writing a cover letter here. Every candidate is unique and every company has its own identity. Taking this aspect into account will prove that you are ready to engage in a constructive exchange. In fact, a job search doesn't stop at simply finding a job on a specialised website and applying. It's also necessary to research the company, take an interest in its activity, development, history, policy and perhaps even job philosophy. Incorporating this information in your cover letter could be enough to intrigue whoever reads your CV. Recruiters will notice little details like these and it will help them decide whether to put your CV and cover letter in the pile of possibilities or the pile of no-go's.
Assert your personality... but be subtleApplying for jobs obviously requires you to know exactly what you're getting yourself into. This needs a real ability to adapt to the different companies who will, potentially, open their doors to you. However, adapting doesn't necessarily mean losing yourself. Whilst flexibility is a sought-after quality, insignificance is a disadvantage. Nothing is less interesting than a candidate who lacks spark. It's impossible for a company to employ a candidate they know absolutely nothing about. Asserting your personality means allowing the recruiter to get an idea of who you are and compare your profile to the requirements of the position in question. It's important to understand what we mean by "asserting your personality". It doesn't mean screaming "I am what I am, take it or leave it". This approach will lead, in the majority of cases, to the company... leaving you. What it means is proving how your qualities meet the company's expectations. As for your weaknesses, there will be enough time to cover them when it comes to the interview. The aim of a cover letter, whether it be for an internship or for a full-time job, is to get you an interview, not to divulge your darkest secrets.
Guest post by Gaelle Şahintekin, Project Manager at Oban Multilingual. Translated by Cherie Gamble.