|Cover letters for either a speculative approach to potential employers, or in response to an advertised vacancy, are a key job-hunting tool and should be carefully prepared. There is little point in preparing a fantastic CV that is never read by employers because your cover letter lets you down at the first hurdle. So, here are some general tips for preparing a successful cover letter and how to tailor it specifically for part-time job vacancies.
Format and Length
In general, a covering letter should be no longer than one A4 page. The quality of paper and envelope you use is of course very important and should ideally match the CV. Also, letters should always be typed, unless specifically requested otherwise, but should always be signed by hand.
|Different Types of Cover Letter|
|Advert Response Cover Letters
The key to a successful advert response letter is to make sure that you actually fulfil the requirements of the advert before you apply. There is little point applying for a position requiring five years experience if you only actually have two years experience. However, there may be some degree of flexibility such as a position that requires an excellent knowledge of a certain software application that you have only recently studied.
Be sure to read the advert carefully so that you can address the letter correctly and mark it for the attention of the designated member of staff. You should also include the title of the job you are applying for and any reference numbers given - often, companies will be seeking candidates for various positions and will want to see clearly which job is being applied for.
The first paragraph should be relatively brief and explain where you saw the advert and on what date. The second paragraph should then go on to highlight your skills and experience in more detail. If certain criteria are mentioned in the advert, you should ideally try to explain exactly how you match these with brief but relevant examples that demonstrate your suitability. Also, say why you want to work for that organisation in particular referring to any research that you have carried out on the company to emphasise that you understand the business.
The next paragraph should finish off with any other information requested in the advert such as salary and availability for interview. A tip here would be to read through the advert once more to ensure that you have satisfied the criteria before submitting your application, maintaining awareness of the specified closing date.
Speculative Cover Letters
When sending out speculative applications, just as the objective of your CV should, your cover letter should clearly state that you are only looking for part-time work. This serves to avoid any misunderstanding and any time being wasted on discussions about full-time positions that are not suitable. It is also advisable that you say why are applying for part-time jobs only, for example to enable you to have enough time available for your studies.
Even though you are not necessarily applying for a particular position, you should try to demonstrate your knowledge of the company you are writing to. Also, try if possible to address the letter to a person in particular rather than simply writing Dear Sir/Madam. Phone the company in advance to find out whom to address the letter to. If you do not, there is the risk that your letter will simply not be received by the correct person and may even be ignored completely.
The general content of the speculative letter should be the same as with the advert response type.
|The letter should be used to elaborate further about the key attributes you have touched on in your CV that are particularly relevant to part-time employment. For example, provide evidence of how you have demonstrated time management, specific deadlines that you have achieved and how you have worked as a team. However, you are sending your CV along with your letter so you do not want to simply repeat the same information.
In general, whatever type of cover letter you are producing it is important that it is relevant to the job and the company, concise and articulate. It is also essential to check that there are no spelling mistakes or grammatical errors as this is possibly the company's first impression of you. This is a formal letter of introduction so should be treated as such and prepared as professionally as you can.
These free cover letter tips were produced with the help of The CV Centre to ensure only the most useful and up to date advice was provided.