You don’t get a second chance to make a first impression!
Your cover letter is an opportunity to sell yourself away from the formality of a CV, and at AAI, it can mean the difference between being shortlisted for a role, or not.
It’s the chance to tell us, and your potential employer, who you are, what your values are, and how this makes you the perfect candidate for both the company and the job role.
The following tips may seem like common sense, but you’d be amazed at how many applications we see from people who sell themselves short with generic, impersonal cover letters!
1. Read the job description carefully and make sure you understand it: It may seem obvious, but understanding the job requirements is the first and most important step that many people overlook. Tick off the requirements one by one and use the same language in your CV and cover letter when possible to really hammer home that you can actually do the job!
2. Do some research: get yourself familiar with your future employer; who are they? What are their company values? What is their motivation? Understanding them, their mission and their culture will help you highlight your most relevant qualities when writing your cover letter. Remember – your cover letter is as much about the company and the role as it is about you!
3. The introduction at the start of your cover letter can have a big impact on your application. In a couple of sentences outline who you are and then explain very briefly why you are the perfect fit for this specific position. It is often the first thing the recruiter will see and first impressions are always crucial! If you know who the boss is, address it to them, if not, ‘to whom it may concern’ never offended anyone! Close your cover letter with a punchy ‘call to action’ about why you are keen to talk more about the role at an in-person interview soon.
4. Relevant experience: Providing evidence of relevant experience (which could be previous work experience, volunteering or even a university project) reassures the people involved in the recruiting process that you will be able to meet their expectations. Remember to include any positive outcomes that came from these experiences, for example, where an idea that you contributed was put into practice by an organisation, or you increased sales or social media engagement.
5. Make sure the reasons you are applying are clear: It is always useful to have another person read your application; if they cannot figure out the reasons for which you want this job maybe you didn’t state them clearly enough.
6. Finally – Keep it simple: Your cover letter should show your personality and credibility, and leave your potential employer wanting to know more. Keep it under 2 pages; 1 if possible! Sign it off with your name, email address, phone number and availability for interview.
Every great story starts with an opportunity.
Start yours with AAI.