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In fact, in these days of online job boards and one-click job applications, you can find yourself doing this as a default without even meaning to. If they’ve advertised a job, they could have hundreds of CVs to wade through.
Although your CV may not be that different to a couple of hundred of your graduate friends, your cover letter gives you the opportunity to explain what makes you special – make the most of it!
So you have taken time out of your career but now you want – or need – to get back into the world of work.
In fact, you have practically zero chance of securing an interview if a speculative application consists solely of a CV.
After all, you’re interrupting someone’s busy working day. What busy person would bother to invest their precious time in reading through a CV if they don’t know why they should? They need indicators of how you fit the job or why you might be worth checking out.
Their view is that they’ve worked hard to perfect their CV (curriculum vitae – also known as a résumé) and that it should just ‘speak for itself’.
I can see how this approach might be tempting, especially if you’re in full-on ‘job-hunting mode’ and just want to get as many CVs out there as possible. The trouble is that your CV can never speak for itself. Well, just put yourself in the shoes of the person you’re contacting for a second.You should already have work experience from another industry – put a spin on that experience and it shouldn’t matter that you’re starting out in an unfamiliar role.If you’re unemployed and you’re worried about gaps on your CV then a cover letter is your perfect opportunity to explain why you’ve found yourself in this situation (it’s nothing to be ashamed of, after all) and explain what you’ve been doing in your spare time to make you perfect for the job…Explain your reasoning behind wanting to return to work and you could be at a huge advantage.To someone changing careers a cover letter is your opportunity to explain why you’re changing jobs and convince them to give you a chance.Sell yourself right in your cover letter and this should be a walk in the park…It can be tough to convince an employer to give you a chance when you’re completely untested in the world of work.Find the address and phone number for your local Jobcentre Plus in our extensive job centre listings.One of our Emphasis 360 members has emailed to ask if it’s always necessary to write a cover letter when applying for jobs or internships.It may well enable you to fire out a lot more applications, but they’ll almost certainly all be wasted. And that good news is that you’ll immediately raise yourself above the rest of the pack if you take the trouble to write one.Setting down why you’re interested in and suited to a role kick-starts a vital process.