Covering your tracks: Write a winning cover letter

Your CV is jam-packed with experience and references. You have answered application questions with precision and flair. Now it is time to send that daunting cover letter.

A letter must be concise whilst also showing how much you want the job. Therefore before you even put pen to paper, you should fully research both the job and the company. The worst thing to do is to use the same cover letter for different companies as this will prevent you from standing out from the crowd.

Paragraph one: Formal introductions

This first paragraph has to be both attention grabbing and witty. Be sure to include your name, what job you are applying for and how you have found the position. This may also be the perfect time to include a short and snappy summary about how you are perfect for the position, but be wary of being too circumlocutory.

Paragraph two: Formal experiences

This should be the main chunk of your cover letter. Three words to remember here are: sell, sell, sell. All of your qualifications, relevant experience, training and skills should be included here. For those that have little experience, focus more on your qualifications and how such transferable skills will make you appealing to the employer. This is particularly important if you are shifting careers.

This section is essentially a personal statement with facts and figures. Remember, do not be afraid to show off your achievements, but also do not cross the line into coming across as arrogant before they have even met you.

Paragraph three: Formal reasons

This paragraph will be particular to the company itself. Explain why you hold the company in high esteem compared to their competitors, and stress on why you want to use this company as the next step for your career. Genuine interest is key here. If you are too general, or alternatively suck up too much, the company will look right through you and simply disregard your application.

Paragraph four: A formal conclusion

Leaving that articulate and witty sentence to the end will go a long way, as a lasting impression will make you more likely to be remembered. If you do know the employer’s name, sign off with ‘Yours sincerely’, whilst end with ‘Yours faithfully’ if you do not.

Finish off by fully reading the cover letter for any bad grammar or typos. You may even consider giving the letter to a new set of eyes before you send it off.

Stick to this formula and you cannot go wrong. The only thing you will then need to worry about is getting ready for that all-important interview.

Berkeley Scott provides specialist advice and support to help you find hospitality work.

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