9 ways to make your cover letter better (so recruiters can't ignore you)

Laura Slingo, a career expert at TopCV, shares her advice on how to ensure your cover letter captures the attention of your dream employer

Laura Slingo, a career expert at TopCV, shares her advice on how to ensure your cover letter captures the attention of your dream employer

A cover letter is an essential addition to every job application in the environmental sector. Here are nine ways to improve your cover letter so recruiters won’t ignore you.

1. Nail the structure
Cover letters typically follow the same structure, regardless of the role you are applying for. The elements include:

  • Date and contact information
  • Salutation/greeting
  • Opening paragraph
  • Middling paragraph
  • Closing paragraph
  • Complementary close and signature

2. Address the hiring manager personally
Address your cover letter to the person hiring for the position, as opposed to “To whom it may concern”. If the job description doesn’t have the contact’s name listed, conduct a LinkedIn search, or be proactive and call the organisation’s main phone number and ask for the name and title of the hiring manager.

3. Tailor your cover letter to a specific job
A cover letter isn’t a one-size-fits-all document. It should be bespoke for each role you apply for. A cover letter recruiters can’t ignore will tie elements of the vacancy to your unique skills and experience. It will also demonstrate your familiarity with the environmental sector, employer, and type of position.

4. Use keywords from the job description
To impress prospective employers, leverage keywords and phrases from the job description and pepper them throughout your cover letter - as long as they genuinely align with your background and strengths, that is.

5. Bolster claims with examples and statistics
Supporting your achievements with tangible metrics that demonstrate the measurable impact you’ve had on an organisation is guaranteed to pique a recruiter’s interest.

For example, “coordinated operations for natural waste projects” sounds good, but “coordinated operations for natural waste projects resulting in a 10% cost savings” sounds better.

6. Use fewer words to say more
An economy of words matters in a cover letter. You only have a few paragraphs to make your powerful pitch, and using fluffy words and waffly phrases takes up valuable real estate. Keep your sentences concise and meaningful and refrain from regurgitating information already detailed in your CV.

7. Omit overly personal details
A cover letter’s purpose is to provide a prospective employer with greater insight into who you are and what you can do, so showcasing your personality is a good thing. But watch out for oversharing. Keep your cover letter laser-focused on facts pertinent to the vacancy, and avoid mentioning unrelated personal details.

8. Focus on your value
In every job, there is a value exchange. You receive a salary, work perks, and job satisfaction, and the employer receives a talented individual that can help the organisation fulfil its goals. In your cover letter, focus on the latter. You’ll make a winning impression if you zero in on what you can do for the prospective employer.

9. Proofread carefully
Always proofread your cover letter with a fine-tooth comb. Have someone else read the document for you, or read it aloud to yourself. You’re more likely to catch any errors this way as you’ll verbally stumble over them.

Follow these nine tips when you craft your cover letter, and you’ll be sure to impress any prospective employer in the environmental sector.

TopCV offers a range of CV-writing services including expertly written and keyword-optimised CVs, cover letters, and LinkedIn profiles. It is currently offering a free CV review to help you land your dream job in the environmental sector.

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