In the world of recruitment you only get one chance to make a great first impression. The stakes are high-you are asking an individual or organisation to take the plunge and commit to your unique business offering. Badly written, long rambling letters with no focus or an obvious lack of spell checking will brand you as a risk to their business before they have even considered your message.
I am always amazed by the number of great candidates that fail to get past the first hurdle purely based on their covering letter. No one is expecting you to become the next Charles Dickens in order to create that perfect first impression but everyone can learn and apply the basic rules of written communication.
1/Select a clear purpose and focus: Before you start writing it’s important to ask yourself what you intend the document to accomplish. What action do you want the reader to take as a result of your message? In the case of a covering letter it is the ‘hook’ to grab the reader’s attention, and persuade them to look at you in more detail. Make every word focus on that purpose. Get to the point in the first sentence, and restate it in the last.
2/Tailor your letter: Find out to whom your letter should be addressed, letters addressed to Sir/Madame or To Whom It May Concern get a one way ticket to the recycle bin. It shows a lack of interest and can’t be bothered attitude. Pick up the phone and find out who the recruitment decision makers are then tailor you’re writing to suit them. Equally important is the need to tailor your writing to suit the company ethos, culture and vision. Make it obvious you have taken the time to get under the companies skin and that you as an individual share those values.