The very first thing your potential employer sees in your IT management application is the cover letter. It isn’t just there to support the rest of your application, a striking cover letter can make you stand out from the competition and persuade a time-pushed recruiter to put you straight through to the next stage. Be careful of spending precious hours tweaking your CV or application form and leaving this till the last minute – an all too common trap. Here are our top tips for success:
Research, research, research
Don’t wait till the interview to demonstrate your knowledge about the company you’re applying to join. Even a couple of sentences that show you’ve researched its current systems, strategies and market position will make you seem genuinely enthusiastic and likely to impress at interview. You’ll also be able to ensure the rest of your application is aligned with the company style.
Always address your letter to a specific person. A recruiter is much more likely to pay attention to one that starts with “Dear Ms. Jones” rather than the generic “Dear Sir/Madam.” There’s usually a contact in the application pack, but try these tips if you’re stuck.
Mention experience early
Highlight the relevance of any awards, experiences or skills to the role you’re going for at the very beginning. “I’m writing to apply for the ICT Manager position” makes much less impact than “I believe that my experience designing integrated solutions across people and systems for XXX makes me the ideal candidate for your ICT manager position”. If you’re unsure which elements of your experience to include, use the list of attributes listed in the job description for inspiration. By proving you meet an employer’s requirements straight off the bat, you’re putting yourself in a much stronger position from the outset.
Filling your letter with empty clichés is utterly counterproductive. Particular phrases to avoid include: ‘I’m a team player’, ‘I think outside the box’ and ‘I think I’m the best candidate for this position.’ The first is meaningless, the second uses a cliché to describe how original you are, while the third easily comes off as both wishy-washy and presumptuous. You’re much better off using slightly longer, well considered statements to describe relevant strengths. “I’m adept at communicating complex technical detail across departments,” for example, followed by a concrete instance when you displayed that skill.
Don’t regurgitate your CV
Your cover letter should complement, rather than repeat, the information on your CV, so the employer gets a better picture of you and your application by reading both. Try to use language and tone that’s true to who you are rather than coming across as ‘off-the-shelf’ – run your final draft past an eloquent friend if possible. The letter should also never, under any circumstances, go over one page. You’re trying to draw someone in and show precisely why you’re such a fantastic fit in as few words as possible.