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EURES (EURopean Employment Services)
News article12 April 2024European Labour Authority, Directorate-General for Employment, Social Affairs and Inclusion3 min read

Want to make your cover letter stand out? Here’s how

The era of digital recruitment is here, and employers are receiving more responses to their job postings than ever before. What can you do to help boost your application to the top of the selection list? The answer may lie in the cover letter.

Want to make your cover letter stand out? Here’s how
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Connecting employers with jobseekers is now easier than ever. In a matter of minutes, you can scope out the positions that interest you online and submit your resume with the click of a button. In this almost automated process, applicants rarely give thought to the ‘old-fashioned’ cover letter, once a standard addition to a CV. However, if you want to improve your chances with a potential employer, you shouldn’t underestimate the power of a well-crafted cover letter to make you stand out from the crowd.

Here are some tips on how to create a cover letter that will get you noticed:

Do your research

Employers want to see that you are a good fit, not only for the job, but for their company as well. Before you apply, familiarise yourself with the skills they are looking for, but also with the company's philosophy and values. Make sure this is reflected in your cover letter by showing how your particular assets and personality align with the company’s ethos.

Know your ‘why’ and convey it clearly

Of course, you want the job for many reasons, which may seem self-evident to you. But a potential employer wants to know why you want the specific job within the specific organisation. Be clear about what draws you to that particular company and how your unique skillset will contribute to its success.

Don’t rehash your CV

Your cover letter is where you express your enthusiasm about the role you are applying for and show your suitability for it. This is not the same as your resume; rather it goes one layer deeper, showing exactly how your profile relates to the job description and requested qualifications.

Showcase your achievements

This is your opportunity to promote your accomplishments, so don’t shy away from a little bit of ‘good bragging’. Quantify your achievements, where possible, and bring up specific examples of how your skills contributed to previous employers’ success.

One size doesn’t fit all

Nobody likes to feel they are on the receiving end of a ‘canned’ piece of writing, and this is especially true for recruiters/employers. When applying for a job, you need to tailor your content to the specific position you are targeting. In the same vein, avoid addressing your letter ‘to whom it may concern’; find out who the hiring manager is and address them personally.

Use your own voice

You want to adopt a formal tone when drafting your cover letter; after all, it is a document that has a professional purpose. But you also still want to let your personality shine through and grab your reader’s attention. Consider an unconventional introduction, perhaps by including a personal anecdote or an engaging question that will pique your reader’s interest and make them keen to find out more about you.

Less is more

Three paragraphs is a good length for your cover letter, and enough to get your points across. A clear and concise format is key. Consider structuring your paragraphs as follows:

  1. Express your enthusiasm for the position and interest in the company.
  2. Showcase your top skills/accomplishments and state how they relate to the job.
  3. Mention how your contribution will bring value to the company and encourage a next step from the recipient’s end.

You are now ready to submit your resume along with your cover letter. Make sure you proofread it before sending or have someone else go over it; they might catch a mistake you have overlooked. Good luck!


Want to find out more about how you can improve your employability? Check out our tips on how to make yourself more hireable for employers.


Related links:

How to write an achievements-focused CV

5 tips for streamlining your CV


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