How to write the perfect covering letter

 

 

Candidate Blog February 2017

General Cover Letters

Whenever you apply for a job you must attach a cover letter to your resume and/or job application. A cover letter is important because it:

Introduces you and your resume.

Explains why you’d like to work for that particular organisation or household.

Promotes your candidacy for any given household staff job].

Can make the difference between securing an interview for the job or having your resume discarded.

Keep in mind that many companies, households and staff placement agencies receive dozens, hundreds, perhaps thousands of CV’s each year. The chances are that many of them will be impressive; so the competition will be high. A good cover letter can bridge the gap between your personal qualifications and many of the other impressive resumes they have collected.

Many companies and households now advertise online which require that applications are made via email. Here are the specific do's and don'ts for email cover letters.

DO make sure you understand these rules and guidelines before you send an email cover letter.

DO always use standard letter writing protocol. Just because it's an email, doesn't mean you should abandon standard business letter writing guidelines. Make sure you include a salutation (Dear Sir or Dear Ms. Smith) and a standard closing (such as "Yours sincerely"). Leave blank lines between paragraphs. Avoid the use of emotions, abbreviations, wild colours, and other ‘fab’ techniques and shortcuts used in everyday emails.

DO keep your household staff email cover letter short – Focus on your key selling points. Most experts say that your cover letter should be two, maximum three paragraphs and under 150 words. The golden rule for email, is that it should fit on one screen, without having to scroll down.

DO take advantage of keywords. Use relevant keywords to the job you are seeking and focus on buzzwords and important skills. Noun phrases become more important than action verbs. Because your cover letter may be filed in a database, using critical keywords will enhance the likelihood that your cover letter and resume will be retrieved in a future search.

DO stick with plain styling. Write your household staff cover letter, then strip away all formatting once you've completed editing it by saving the file as "plain text". Some email packages allow you to manipulate font style, colour, and size, but ensure that your email is sent in plain text, black font, normal size and typeface (10/12 point, Arial, Helvetica, Tahoma, Times Roman) on a white background.

DO check your line length. Make sure your lines are no more than 60 characters in length. Some email packages automatically do word wrap for you (much like word processing software), but you should check. You don't want your cover letter to arrive fragmented on multiple lines.

DON’T leave the subject line of your email blank, and don't waste it by only inserting the job number (unless that is requested). Instead, use the subject line to entice the reader to your cover letter. For example, for a position of Butler in a stately home, write something like: "experienced and well trained Butler for a stately home".

DON’T email using a non-professional sounding email address – and it’s absolutely forbidden to use an address that includes a nickname.

DON’T write your cover letter as an attachment (unless requested to do so). Some companies actually block all emails with attachments; thus, your application would never even be received.

DON’T hit the "send" button without thoroughly spell checking and proof-reading your email. Don't rely on your email software's spell-checker. Take the time to really proof read it. A simple typing error could be the downfall of a brilliant cover letter. Avoid all mistakes.

And one last bit of advice; if you include your phone number (home or mobile/cell) don’t then have silly songs or a weird "Hello Darling!" message on the answer service! Also remember to tell roommate(s) or landlord(s) that you may be expecting a call – don’t let them spoil your chances!

 

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