Writing an attention grabbing cover letter for public finance professionals
In research carried out amongst HR professionals and recruiters by CV Writers, opinions were split on the value of a covering letter. Whilst 2/3 of recruiters said they would read a CV without a cover letter, the other 1/3 would only read a CV if a cover letter was provided. As a job hunter you therefore cannot afford to take a chance; if a covering letter is asked for as part of an application then you should always include one.
Keep the letter brief
Three or four paragraphs are just about right; if your letter has started to run on to a second page then you may be writing too much detail. A CV and covering letter are all about getting an interview, not getting a job. You can expand on key points from your CV but you must avoid repeating yourself or worse, replicating your CV.
So what information should I include?
The most important piece of advice on what to include in a covering letter is this: make sure you answer the criteria laid out in the person specification. Ultimately this is what you will be assessed against so it is vital to read the person specification with great care and provide clear evidence of how you meet these requirements. Centre on what you know are the most important points in the specification and those that are most closely aligned to your skills.
Use specific examples
It is one thing to claim you can do something and it’s another to be able to evidence it. Your cover letter will be much more impactful if you can use real life examples to demonstrate your experience in a certain area. Core facts, figures and results will really help your covering letter to become convincing.
Should I include information about my personal circumstances?
Generally, it is better not to include a personal information in your cover letter. In the UK you are protected by equal opportunities legislation (the Equality Act) so there is no need to give any information around age, sex, religion, disability or ethnicity. Other personal circumstances can be discussed after the interview or post offer when you have an opportunity to talk face-to-face.
The call to action
The primary call to action for any covering letter is to get the recruiter to read your CV. It’s after going through your CV that any decision about inviting you to interview will be made so end your cover letter by asking the reader to read your CV to find out more.
This article is written by Neville Rose, Director of CV Writers. If you need help with your CV, cover letter or LinkedIn profile CV Writers are the official partner to PF Jobs and provide a CV writing service.