Cover letter tips: Nailing the perfect tone for your application

Eagle-eyed readers will tell you we’ve already given you a little advice on how to write the perfect cover letter.

We briefly touched on tone – arguing for something passionate but not pretentious. However, generous to a fault we thought it was high time to go into a little more detail.

Your cover letter is your chance to get your foot in the door so here are some ways to make sure you portray yourself as the perfect candidate: –

Give off the right vibes – demonstrate passion and ability

No one wants to work with someone who has a negative attitude and complains all day. No one wants to work with someone who sounds pompous or conceited.

Employers want to hire someone capable who genuinely cares about the job, so make sure your words demonstrate your passion as well as your ability. The following can be useful words to remember: –

– enthusiastic / keen
– passionate
– fascinated
– interested
– excited
– lead / led
– organised
– managed
– built / grew
– completed / solved

Don’t shoehorn them in – this is only a brief list designed to provide a bit of food for thought.

However, it’s worth noting that these are a mix of emotive words and verbs that demonstrate action.

Try and get a happy balance of both throughout your cover letter to ensure you’ve got all your bases covered.

Make it personal: Everybody loves a story – even employers!

Your employer is a human being just like you. Use this to your advantage.

If you have a story that relates to the job, tell it. It could be an example of how you’ve solved a problem or dealt with an issue similar to one that might arise in the position you are applying for.

Stories that people can relate to or show your personality can be a great way to form a bond with your potential employer.

Struggling for inspiration? Here’s a few examples that might help you get noticed.

Get to the point right away and start with something brilliant

Cut out the waffle and start with a key fact, a statistic or an example that demonstrates precisely why you are the right person for the job.

Have you managed a large team? Increase revenue, profits or productivity? Solved any particularly tricky problems?

You might be able to open with one of these selling points in order to wow them right from the very start.

Which one of these three possible intros is most likely to make you stand out from the crowd?:-

“The reason I am applying to work for you in the position of XXX…”

“Having led teams of hundreds of people…”

“Having managed several multi-million pound projects…”

I’ll give you a clue – not the first one! Moral of the story? Tell your future employer what they want to hear as quickly and efficiently as possible.

Man get job

Be positive – try conning yourself that you’ve already got the job

This is a tricky little secret but if you are prone to confidence problems, try to pretend to yourself you already have the job.

It can be dispiriting applying for dozens of jobs and not hearing back but it’s key to remain upbeat – after all you only need one job to come through!

Keep the following catchphrase in your head: “There is no way they can give this job to anyone else because…”

You’ve done enough research about the job to know you’re the perfect fit – so translate that confidence through to the employer.

Be brave and be original but keep it short. Less is more my friend

Pick and choose your battles but don’t be shy to show some creativity – as long as you’ve done it in the right context.

A stay-at-home mother applied for a position stating that she currently worked as a ‘teacher, chef, driver, nurse, referee, shopping assistant and therapist’ – she got the job.

This is an extreme example and won’t work for everyone but, whatever you do, don’t beat around the bush. “I am XXX” is much better than “I feel like I am XXX” for example.

So many CVs are full of vague, clichéd language that is guaranteed to bore employers. Don’t let yours be one of them.

Short, one- or two-sentence paragraphs work well, and unless the application asks otherwise we suggest you only write four, five or six of these.

This shows specific, precise, clear focus – which should be your cover letter mantra.

The more you write, the more you dilute your point. Probably about time we started winding this blog up then…

OK well we hope these cover letter tips help but it goes without saying give us a call if there’s anything we can do to help. Failing that good luck!

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