The Inspired Guide to a Perfect Cover Letter
In composing the perfect application for your dream role, you’ll usually be tasked with putting together a tailored cover letter. This is an aspect of the application process that causes a lot of candidates stress and confusion – how long does it have to be? What should it contain? What kind of tone should it be written in? How do you make it complement your C.V. without just repeating it?
In order to help you write up the perfect cover letter, we have compiled a few tips and tricks that will give you some guidance tackling this tricky document!
Before you begin, you should:
- Research – you cannot dive into writing when you have not looked into the company you are applying for. Check out their website, their book lists, social media, any recent press and their Linkedin to get a better idea of the content they work with and the company culture. This research will help you make your cover letter relevant to the specific publisher you are applying for.
- Review - Look closely at the job description as well as the job advertisement. Make a note of the most important skills, experiences and attributes required for the vacancy. Note that you are not looking for every single skill or experience necessary for the job, just the key ones that fit your experience closely.
- Plan - Once you have a list of 4-5 points, plan your covering letter around them. Remember that most candidates won’t have lots of experience within every requirement, so don’t worry if you don’t tick every box.
Now you will be ready to write your letter. Remember that:
- A cover letter is a wonderful way for you to get your personality and tone across to the employer. It can be helpful to look at the job description to gauge how formal to be; if it is a very well written and professional tone, try to match it! If it seems a bit more casual, feel free to follow their lead.
- Address the letter to Dear (Insert name) or hiring manager if you know their name. Previously you were encouraged to use Dear Sir or Madam but that is found to be a bit old fashioned these days…
- Follow this with a paragraph explaining why you are interested in both the position and the company. Try to convey your enthusiasm for the job. Also, give an indication that you have already done some research into the company and that you have an understanding of the skills that they are looking for in this appointment.
- In the following paragraphs, discuss your relevant skills, experience and attributes. Whilst the bare bones of this will be covered in your C.V., these paragraphs are a chance to explain your key areas of experience in detail. When deciding which of your skills to include in the letter, test them first against the job description – if the experience and skills aren’t something which is relevant to the job, do not include them. Try the following formula: Skill/experience, where this was gained, and relevance to the job.
- It is tempting to write as much as you can in your letter to really show off your skills, but be as concise as you can. The ideal letter should be around one page in length. You want to leave them wanting to hear more after all!
- Sign off with a positive ending! Something that encourages a response and allows the publisher to see your enthusiasm. Sign off with ‘Yours sincerely’ if it a formal tone, or ‘Kind regards’ if more casual.
Now, the final and most important stage of writing the perfect cover letter:
- Check – Be sure to read and reread your cover letter. Look for any spelling or grammar errors as well as syntax. Use professional editing standards - It does not look good to apply for a publishing role with a cover letter full on mistakes!
If you follow these steps, you will have crafted the perfect cover letter tailored for the role you are applying for. It will show the employer that you are taking the application seriously and are keen on the role (which is exactly what they are looking for!).
Please feel free to reach out to us if you are in need of any help or guidance while writing a cover letter. Before we submit any applications, we are sure to read over the cover letter carefully and will let you know if we have any suggestions.
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