Recruiting takes time and effort, as does job-hunting, which is why I’m often amazed at the contents of covering letters.
First off, if you know whom you’re applying to, use their name. Letters I’ve had that have been addressed ‘To whom it may concern’, ‘Dear Human Resource’ or ‘Dear Lauren Currah’, when my name is Rebecca and said so on the advert, demonstrate poor attention to detail.
Whether you want a job in journalism or not, spelling mistakes and other errors are likely to count against you. Most jobs involve communications of some kind, often by email, and if you can’t get it right when you’re trying your hardest to impress someone, are you going to once you’ve been hired? Employees are ambassadors for their companies and need to behave as such.
Importantly, writing a covering letter is a bit like doing an exam, you need to quickly demonstrate you understand what they want from you and that you can do it. Don’t just talk about what you want, make sure you have understood what your prospective employer is looking for and succinctly convey how you can do that and more. And for this, you need to have done your homework into what the company does, how and why.
As Nick Dobney, GNFR purchasing director at Kingfisher, says
, when assessing purchasing candidates he wants to know: can they do the job, will they do the job and how will they fit into his team and the dynamics of his company? Giving an indication of all three will help you get in the door for an interview. Many mistakes are common and avoidable, so make sure you take the time to present yourself in the best possible light.