Neville Rose shares his tips on what makes an effective cover letter for PR applications.
You may question the merit of cover letters. Here at CV Writers we carried out some research that indicated whilst one in three recruiters would read a CV paying little attention to a cover letter, another one in three would only read a CV if a cover letter impressed them first. With such diverse opinions it is best not to take risks and always incorporate a cover letter with your CV.
Keep it brief
Three to four paragraphs is about right. If your letter is floating towards two or more pages then it is becoming too long. Much the same as a CV, your letter will be given a short time span so make it open and simple to read. There is no reason to provide great levels of detail, remember, it’s about landing an interview not the job itself.
What to incorporate in your cover letter
The most important message to take from this article is that your letter is about meeting the demands of the person specification. As every job has different requirements, so your letter will need to be tailored accordingly. An introductory letter is not about you, it is about how you can show suitability for the job that you are applying for.
The substance for your letter will reflect the type of employment you are applying for. An introductory letter for a PR Manager will look altogether different for a press officer or communications assistant. The more senior you are the more leadership qualities should be showcased. Even roles with very similar titles can have quite different requirements so look carefully at the person specification for every job you apply for and let this be your guide.
Give illustrations as proof
It is not difficult to say you can accomplish something, it is entirely different to be able to show it. The ideal way of demonstrating you can accomplish something is to use examples. By doing this, recruiters will have a better idea of what you are about and what your capabilities are. Just listing your responsibilities doesn’t really convince.
Should I incorporate individual circumstances?
For the most part, it is best to only incorporate career based information that aids your application. Specific individual circumstances, for example, caring for a relative, are most likely best left to the interview. It is much easier to discuss any personal circumstances face to face rather than in a letter.
What is the call to action?
Any decision about calling you to interview will be made upon reading your CV. So now you’ve got the reader engaged, point them to your CV to drive home your suitability for the role.
Neville Rose is director of CV Writers who offer a CV writing service, can help with Linkedin profiles, cover letters and interview coaching.