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How to write the perfect cover letter [2021 Ireland]

An often neglected facet of a job application is the cover letter. It is the first step towards gaining the career of your dreams, and a badly put together attempt can ruin the chances of even the best candidate. But at CareerWise, we are experts in helping you through every step of the job search process. Here is our guide to writing the perfect cover letter.

 

Understand the format

In a formal application scenario, it is good to demonstrate your knowledge of correct letter writing. Be sure to include your name, address and contact details (email address and telephone number) in the top right hand corner of the page. Include the date below this.

Next, include the contact details of the person you are writing to, in a new paragraph, set to the right of the page. Include their job title, and the company name and address.

If you have been given a job reference, include this underneath the contact details.

 

Be specific

If you can learn the name of the person in charge of the application process, and address your letter specifically to them, it creates a much better first impression. If you are forced to simply address “Dear Sir / Madam”, try and personalise your letter in other ways, to demonstrate your genuine interest in the role, rather than appear to be a generic application.  

 

Do your research

Make sure you know as much as possible about the role and the company you are applying to. You will need this knowledge later on for the interview process, but having it now will make your cover letter much more convincing. Find out:

 

  • what the company does
  • who are their competitors?
  • who are their target audience?
  • what does the role involve?
  • what are the essential skills you will need for the role?

 

Once you know the answers to these questions, you will be able to demonstrate exactly how you can fill the company’s requirements.

 

Presentation

Do consider the design of your letter. Make sure you use an easy to read font, and a simple, clear layout. Create a document that is a pleasure to look at, and gives an impression of your professionalism. Do not use joke fonts such as Comic Sans, or include unnecessary elements such as pictures.

 

Don’t repeat yourself

Your covering letter’s role is to introduce your C.V. There is no point in simply repeating everything your C.V. contains. Instead, use this as an opportunity to showcase other skills that make you suitable for the role, that you couldn’t include in your C.V. Perhaps you could mention volunteering or charity work, a particular interest or hobby, or even an occasion where you have been impressed by the company you are applying to. This is a chance to set the tone of your application, and make yours stand out from the crowd.

 

Be concise

Despite the point above, don’t start rambling! There will be many other applicants to the job, and you don’t want to irritate the employer by making them wade through your essay before they even look at the substance of your application. Try and keep it as concise as possible, maintaining a clear format with spacious line breaks for ease of reading. Your cover letter should be a few well chosen sentences, grouped into brief paragraphs, and should never be longer than a single page.

 

Structure

A clear structure can help you articulate what you need to say as effectively and briefly as possible. You could consider the following layout:

  • Explain why you are getting in touch – say which role you are applying for, and mention if anyone referred you
  • Explain why you are suitable for the job – for instance, your years of relevant experience.
  • Explain what you can do for the company – perhaps mention a previous example of career success that you didn’t include in your C.V.
  • Reiterate – you could close by briefly restating your enthusiasm for the role.

 

CareerWise is Ireland’s leading specialist recruitment firm, based in Cork, Shannon, Galway, Mayo and Dublin – bringing together employers with the perfect employees. We specialise in the Engineering, Supply Chain, Science/Pharma, IT and Accounting industries in Ireland, and we look forward to working with you. Contact us online now or call us on +353 (0)21 206 1900 to arrange a consultation.

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CareerWise Recruitment. EastGate Village, EastGate, Little Island, Cork.

Phone: +353 (0) 21 206 1900

Email: info@careerwise.ie