CAREERS: How to get your job application shortlisted
Application letters or cover letters can make or break your chance at getting a call for the interview that will lead you to the job of your dreams.
However, most job seekers miss the plot at this stage and their applications never see the light of day.
Recruiters have described how easily they toss out badly thought-out or poorly written applications while the applicants sit by the phone waiting for it to ring for an interview.
A cover letter will present you to the recruiter for the first time, and there is never a second chance to make a first impression so you better get it right.
Bad cover letters could come in the form of a one liner saying:
“Please find my CV applying for X position attached. Regards, Y.”
Or a poorly structured and worded letter that does little to sell you as an asset.
Below are some of the things recruiters look for in a cover letter:
- Who you are and job you’re applying for
Start your application letter with describing who you are and what job you are applying for.
Be sure to mention how you found out about the vacancy, and check to ensure it is the correct place.
If you were referred to the vacancy by someone at the organisation, mention their name at this point, a familiar name will always attract attention.
Find out the name of the recruiter and address the letter to him/her.
- Relevant skills, how are they of use to employer
Include skills that are relevant for the position you are applying.
Relate your roles at your former position to the roles at the position as per the advertisement, but be careful not to duplicate the job advert.
- Additional skills than those requested in the advert
It is always an added advantage to show that you have skills other than those included in the job advert that will bring added value to the employer.
Make sure the skills are relevant to the position.
- Have positive attitude
Have a positive and confident tone in your letter, but be careful not to come across as arrogant.
A statement such as: “I am confident that my skills and experience will prove valuable to your organisation” will suffice.
- Be concise
Your letter should not be longer than one side on an A4 page.
Go straight to the point and sell yourself in the best way possible using few words.
- Show you really want the job
As you sum up your letter, reassure the employer that you are indeed interested in the position and thank him for considering your application.
Remember to end your letter with yours sincerely as opposed to yours faithfully if you used the name of the recruiter at the beginning.
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