When applying for jobs in an ever-competitive professional world, setting yourself apart from other job seekers can be a hard thing to achieve.
Especially that today, more than ever, a simple CV is not always sufficient.
Apart from writing the perfect CV, supplements such as portfolios and examples of previous achievements are now considered an instrumental part of job hunting.
Indeed, convincing a future hiring manager that you’re the perfect candidate will require you to write a cover letter. Although writing a cover letter can seem like a simple task to some, it is not so simple in reality.
Junior civil engineer and active user on the Bayt.com Specialties platform, Karmel Hammad, asked professionals about the dos and don’ts of cover letters.
Learn to write with our business writing courses.
- Don’t send out your CV to a prospective employer without including a cover letter. Especially if you are applying for a managerial or a senior position, skipping the cover letter is rarely tolerated.
- Don’t waste your time and your potential manager’s time by using the first paragraph to introduce yourself. Simply use it to grab their attention by reasoning why you’re qualified for the job.
- Don’t be instructive by using phrases such as “kindly find attached herewith” or “as you can tell from my attached CV.” Simply state the highlights you want the manager to pay the most attention to.
- Don’t expect action to be taken. You have to request them. Tell the manager, for example, that you’re available for an interview and specify a timeframe that works for you. If you say that you will be following up after a certain period of time, do so!
- Don’t send out a cover letter that is not grammatically correct or has typos and misspelt words. Read your cover letter over and over again to make sure it’s well-written. Ask for help if need be.
- Don’t write out your CV. The cover letter is supposed to highlight the most important qualification and accomplishments and to elaborate on the most relevant details. By writing out your CV in a letter format, you end up boring the potential manager without offering any added value.
- Don’t include your cover letter in an email body, rather attach it separately along with your CV and portfolio (if applicable). You can easily attach your cover letter when you apply for jobs on Bayt.com.
- Do address your letter to an individual, if possible. Try to avoid addressing to “Dear Hiring Manager” or “Dear Company Representative.”
- Do write a new cover letter for each different position and try to avoid using the same cover letter for many jobs. Employers can easily tell if your cover letter has been recycled or if it is irrelevant.
- Do use simple language and avoid jargon. Write short, clear sentences and do not overcomplicate your letter with long and technical terms.
- Do write cover letters that are unique to you and that highlight your best qualities. Avoid copying and pasting online templates. If you need help getting started, check out Bayt.com’s professional writing services.
- Do talk about the requirements of the job and how you will satisfy them. Focus on what you can do for the company rather than what the company can do for you.
- Do set yourself apart from other job seekers by giving specific examples as evidence to prove your professional claims.
- Do keep your cover letter brief and less than one page.
Improve your writing skills with our full list of business writing courses.