Writing An Effective Cover Letter
An employers’ first impression doesn’t start in the interview room, it starts when you submit a job application. When it comes to cover letters, are they really worth it? Do people really read them? It might be a concept that is debated time and time again, but a cover letter is a great way to set yourself apart from other candidates in the Construction & Engineering job market. And whilst a cover letter will not get you the job, it might just be the differentiating factor between yourself and other, equally-qualified applicants. Next time you’re submitting a job application, make sure you have a read through our tips to writing an effective cover letter.
Traditionally, people have started off cover letters in formal fashion. We see countless examples each week and they’re always along the same lines: “I’m applying for ‘X’ job that I found advertised on ‘Y’ job site”. In reality, this sort of text could be better utilised.
Instead, start differently, and make a punchy statement, something that will stand out and make you memorable. Why is the job exciting to you? Why are you the right person? The chances are that the employer has a stack of cover letters to read through, so you want to catch their attention from the very first sentence!
Sell Yourself to an Organisation
As with your CV, a cover letter is a sales document, its purpose, to sell and make yourself stand out as the ideal candidate. A CV will show facts and information about your skills and experience, but it’s a cover letter that tells your story and gives you the opportunity to convince the reader that you should be on their interview shortlist.
A cover letter isn’t just a statement ticking off the skills that match the job ad. Of course, you want to address the key points and show the reader that you are a fit (both job-wise and culturally), but what’s in it for them? What will you bring to the organisation? A generic template will be obvious to most employers, so do your research and avoid vague and generic wording. This is where the job advert can be a useful resource, as you can speak to the key phrases that are mentioned.
Let Your Personality Shine Through
It might be a formal document, but that does not mean you should stifle your personality. It doesn’t need to be a formal declaration of your skills and experience or just a regurgitation of your resume. It’s the perfect opportunity to capture your personality, so write like yourself, and keep your tone friendly and upbeat. A cover letter is the start of a conversation, make it sound like a conversation the reader would like to continue further in an interview.
Be Succinct and Add a Call To Action
Unless specified in the job advert, you need to convey your message in a succinct, concise manner, so our best advice is to keep it short and sweet. We know it can be tricky to keep your word count down but try to keep it within a page. However, remember the reader could have hundreds of applications to sift through, so engage and impress them quickly!
What’s next? This is the part that’s often missing and it’s easy to close off your cover letter passively as to not appear overconfident. The key to your call to action is to make it short, confident and reiterate your interest. Also, indicate that you will follow up if you haven’t heard by a date past the closing date – this can sometimes encourage the person to get back to you first!
Once you have crafted a succinct, compelling cover letter, don’t forget to proof read it, or even better, get a friend to review it for you. Another set of eyes will help to eliminate typos and make sure that you’re getting across your message clearly.
The cover letter can make or break your chances of getting an interview. Don’t overlook or under estimate the importance of making a solid, compelling first impression. We are happy to share our expertise, so for further advice in writing a cover letter for Construction & Engineering jobs, please feel free to get in touch with one of our expert Recruitment Consultants.