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What is a cover letter?

By TheStudentGuide
What is a cover letter?

Add some personality

Rather than considering a cover letter as mere packaging for your CV, see it as a persuasive tool.

After all your hard work on your CV you don’t want to send a lazy cover letter. The art to writing an interesting cover letter is to strike a balance between professionalism and a genuinely enthusiastic tone. Adding some personality whilst satisfying the job spec will result in an engaging product.

'I’m a great team player with good communication skills' - sound familiar? Generic phrases such as this are so overused in cover letters that they just make the employer flip to the next applicant.

Far from being a daunting prospect, a cover letter is actually a fantastic opportunity to shine by telling the employer your story in a way that a fact-packed CV can’t. Think about it, so many thousands of graduates with similar levels of qualifications and experience are sending tens or even hundreds of CVs. Employers are bored of reading the same thing.

So you know cover letters shouldn’t be boring, but what should they be? The purpose of a cover letter is to talk to an employer in a human manner. It is an invitation to read more about you in your CV. A cover letter is a way to directly link your CV to the specific requirements of the company and the job. It is a chance to highlight your relevant personality traits and an opportunity to expand on relevant and interesting information.

Most importantly a cover letter can be the difference between your CV being considered or thrown in the bin. The major faux paux candidates often make is to express how much the employer can do for them that rather than what they can do for the employer.

For more in-depth careers advice and info about life after graduation, check out your FREE e-copy of the Graduate Guide 2011 magazine.

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