Cambridge Assessment: The Ultimate Covering Letter
Category: Career Experts, culture, Manager, hiring, qualification, specification, preference
Each year Cambridge Assessment receives between 20,000 and 25,000 applications for our job vacancies. As you can imagine that is a lot of time spent on assessing candidates. One of the best ways to stand out from such a crowd is to write a high quality covering letter. Not only is a covering letter a great way to get across how your experience matches the role it is also your chance to show your writing style.
There is no set length for a covering letter but I would recommend not writing more than a page. Most job adverts receive a large number of applications and you want to make sure that the hiring manager reads everything you write. I have a personal preference for about 50-75% of a page as I think this is long enough to get across the key points in most cases.
A strong opening line
With Reed estimating that hiring managers spend on average 30 seconds reviewing each application, it is important that you grab their attention early on. Address them professionally, e.g. Dear Sir/Madam. My recommendation for the opening paragraph is to include the job title of the role you are applying to so that the Hiring manager can see that you haven’t just uploaded a generic covering letter.
What to include in a Covering Letter
It is helpful to see covering letters as a bridge between the Job Specification and your CV. In the opening sentences describe what key experience and qualifications you have that are relevant to the job. Use the key points in the job description as a guide and omit anything that is not relevant to the role in question. You may wish to include your career goal as this will help the Hiring Manager see where the job you are applying to fits in with your longer term plans.
An indication of why you would be interested in working in that sector is also a great way to get across a certain degree of cultural fit. For example if you are applying to an education provider you may like to explain why you feel education is important and how it fits in with your own personal values. At the same time this is a great chance to get across your understanding of what the company does and the market it operates in.
Grammar and Wording
Don’t leave any grammatical errors in your covering letter. It is a simple tip but it makes a massive difference and my recommendation would be to get someone else to double check the document before sending.
Many Recruiters tend to prefer covering letters written in the candidates own words rather than corporate clichés. Write professionally but make it easy for whoever is reading your letter to understand what you want to get across.
Other points to consider
If you are applying from abroad, state whether you will be in the country on a particular date or that you are open to a Skype interview if it is more convenient.
Make your covering letter bespoke to the job and the employer.
If you were referred by an internal recruiter, or current employee, mention their name in the covering letter.
Finally, make sure that your covering letter highlights what makes you stand out from the crowd!
If you have any additional points you like to include, or see, in covering letter please let me know in the comments section below.
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VERCIDA works with over one hundred clients who are committed to creating an inclusive work
environment. If you are an employer and interested in working with VERCIDA to promote your
diversity and inclusion initiatives and attract the best candidates, please email
[email protected] for more information.
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