Your CV may be faultless, your ability to give the perfect impression at interview may be second to none... but how much thought have you really put into your cover letter?
Whether you're applying for a veterinary or animal health role, or a position in any other industry, your cover letter should make you stand out. It's the first impression that a potential employer will have of you – and will no doubt help them decide whether or not they should actually read your CV.
Many job seekers make easily avoidable mistakes in their cover letters – here are our top 5:
- Addressing the cover letter to the wrong person. Failure to make the letter out to the right person – or simply choosing to write "Dear Sir or Madam" – can make it look as if you just can't be bothered to find out who's responsible for hiring.
Find out the right name (by phoning the company, checking the job ad or searching on LinkedIn), and you'll instantly look like you've made an effort.
- A weak opening paragraph. A cover letter should demonstrate why the sender should be hired, so is it really wise simply to start it with "I am applying for the position of x"? Instead, open with a bang: tell the company why you're exactly the right fit for the role and go from there.
- Rehashing your CV. Many people make the mistake of using a cover letter simply to point out the parts of their CVs that are most relevant to the jobs for which they are applying. This is a complete waste of time.
Instead, use it to inject more personality into the application – tell them why YOU as a person are perfect for the role, and expand on anything from your CV that you think needs more detail.
- No tailoring. It might seem like a lot of effort to change your cover letter for every role for which you're applying, but if you don't, you're likely to need to be applying for plenty more.
Read the job ad thoroughly and address points from the ad specifically in your cover letter.
- Poor spelling and grammar. There's no excuse for typos or other errors in a cover letter – after all, it's designed to sell YOU as a person. Mistakes don't really give the right impression, so check, check and check again!