THOUGHT PIECE the carling team
Drink Industry Cover Letter Writing Tips
Most job candidates accept that they need to invest either time or money (and sometimes both) to get a good quality CV, but what many people forget is how important it is to invest in your covering letter. In the wine, beer and drink industry, the first thing your potential new employer is likely to look at is your CV covering letter. So needless to say, it’s essential that it presents you and your proposition in the very best possible light.
Your covering letter is your opportunity to demonstrate why this potential employer simply can’t afford to ignore you. It’s your chance to make it clear why you are different from the rest and that you absolutely must be on their interview list. This isn’t an easy task, however it can be done.
10 tips to help you get your covering letter spot-on:
Plan it carefully. Like most things in life, great execution comes from great planning. Take the time to plan your covering letter carefully and make sure you have included everything you’d want to hear if you were the employer.
Give a range of points of contact. It’s essential that you make it easy for your prospective employer to contact you. On your covering letter you need to make sure you have your home address, an email address and at least a mobile phone number that you can be contacted on.
Pay special attention to the first paragraph and the last line. Busy people have a tendency to scan written material and it’s typical that more attention is paid to the opening paragraph and the close of any letter. As a result, it’s essential that you make sure these elements of your cover letter are particularly strong. Your opening paragraph should include your Unique Selling Points (the things that make you the best person for the job) and your close should be a clear call to action; making it obvious to the employer why they should invite you to interview.
Give evidence. If you’re making bold claims in your covering letter, and you should be, make sure you give evidence that backs up those claims. In particular you should aim to provide statistical or experiential evidence that you meet the specific requirements that the employer has sited in their job ad in your cover letter.
Be yourself. While it is never appropriate for a cover letter to read like a note to a mate, try to be yourself. Let your personality shine through in the letter by being lively and dynamic.
Keep it short. Your cover letter isn’t the place to re-write your CV, so make sure you aren’t tempted to do that. It should fit comfortably on one side of A4 and if it’s longer; invest time to edit, re-edit and chop out any unnecessary words.
Include a signature. Even if you’re sending your letter by email you should include a signature. A blue signature looks good on an emailed document and makes your letter look more complete.
Demonstrate knowledge of the company you’re applying to. At every point in your letter it’s important to relate the claims you’re making about yourself to either the role you’re applying for or the company itself. This is easier to do than you imagine. All you need to do is some company research and apply the results to your experience and claims. Going the extra mile on this element pays huge dividends because it makes it clear to the employer that you’ve personalised your letter to them and haven’t just recycled a standard covering letter.
Check, check, check and double-check it. Your job covering letter is no place for spelling or grammar mistakes. Don’t rely on Word to correct errors for you; invest in making sure it’s correct, even if you need to pay someone a small sum to do it for you.
Make sure it looks and (if you’re sending it by post) feels good. If you’re sending your letter by email you don’t need to worry about print or paper quality, but you still need to make it look good. Using some subtle colour and perhaps two, but no more, fonts will make your letter look more professional. Look around online for ideas of layouts if you’re stuck. If you’re printing your letter, make sure you use a high quality print and a nice, thick paper. If needs be go to a print shop to have your letter printed. When it comes to folding the letter, make sure you get it right first time unless you decide to send it in an A4 envelope.