The concept of writing samples – also known as covering letters – is a tried and tested source of job satisfaction for job applicants. More and more businesses are turning to online surveys to gather feedback from potential employees, and one of the most popular questions is about the quality of the writing in the application letter.
The problem is, how do I write the perfect job application without spending hours in front of a computer screen?
The Dos and Don’ts of a Covering Letter
As with most things in life, there are certain rules you must follow when writing a covering letter and there are others you shouldn’t even think about breaking. Here are the dos and don’ts of writing a covering letter:
Focus On The Basics
If you’re applying for a job as a copywriter, for example, you need to ensure that your letter is pitched at a basic level, but you don’t want to bore the reader with too much detail about something as common as the work environment. Even if you’re writing to someone you’ve never met before, begin with a short introduction and a quick summary of why you’re interested in the role in the first place. Give just enough information for the reader to understand your background and the reason you’re applying for the job.
To make your letter more personal, you can add a short section about yourself. Mention at least two or three areas that you’re confident will make you a stand-out candidate. Finally, make sure you’ve included some key words that will encourage the recipient to open your email. The summary should be no longer than three or four paragraphs and should include both content and a clear structure.
Style And Format Matters
When it comes to applying for a job, you need to ensure that you’re creating a professional-looking document with the appropriate style and format. This may mean taking a few minutes to practise spelling and using correct grammar, as well as ensuring that your document is saved in the right file format so that it can be easily accessed by the person reading it. The worst thing you can do is send a poorly formatted document with spelling errors and an unprofessional looking font. Even when you’re writing on your own time, you still need to ensure that you’re presenting a professional image to the reader. You don’t want to ruin your chances of getting the job just because you were too busy playing Grand Theft Auto or World of Warcraft!
The Most Important Thing
The most important thing to keep in mind when writing a covering letter is to ensure that you’re writing to the right person. Although it may be tempting to write to the person you think is the most suitable in your opinion, that’s irrelevant if you’re writing to the wrong person. Even if you think that your qualifications are superior to those of the person you’re writing to, include a short polite note explaining that you’ve sent your application to the wrong person and should have addressed it to someone else. The worst thing you can do is waste the time of the person you’re writing to, by sending a letter to the wrong address. Some applicants have even gone as far as including fake social media profiles in their letters, just in case the person they’re writing to doesn’t exist!
Whether you’re sending a cover letter as part of your job application or not, there are basic guidelines you must follow in order to ensure that your letter is concise and to the point. Remember those four paragraphs above? Practise writing short snappy sentences and ensure that your letter follows a logical flow. You can always find more tips and advice from experts in the field on our website. And make sure to practise spelling and grammar while you’re at it!