Hays Sample Cover Letter
Cover letters are your first chance to get noticed. Make sure yours is tailored to the exact job on offer.
Plenty of recruiters and employers still do read cover letters, says Andrew Morris, director at Robert Half. But tailor it for the 21st century so that your cover letter gets noticed.
The purpose of a cover letter is to get a recruiter or employer to look at your resume, says Peter Noblet, senior regional director at Hays. But keep it simple. Less is more, especially in the era of email applications.
The purpose of a cover letter is to get a recruiter or employer to look at your resume, says Peter Noblet, senior regional director at Hays.
- Remember every cover letter is important. It’s too easy in the world we live to apply for dozens of jobs through SEEK, says Noblet. Make sure, however, that every single cover letter is individualised for the job in question. If your cover letter nails it you’re going to stand out to an employer. The process of tailoring your cover letter also makes you think about the job and if it is really the right role for you.
- Concentrate on two or three key words from the job advertisement. Make sure you match your capabilities against each word in a separate bullet point. Be succinct and give relevant examples, says Noblet. If, for example, the advertisement mentions SEO skills you could highlight this with a bullet point. Weave a variety of key SEO skills into that point such as your technical optimisation skills, social media marketing skills, link building expertise, your understanding of information architecture, and content marketing skills. But keep it brief. You just want to grab the reader’s attention for now.
- Explain why you’re interested in the job. Explain in a sentence why you want this particular job. “Pique the reader’s interest” says Noblet. Explain very specifically what it is that makes this the job for you. It may, for example, be that it will use your fabulous problem solving skills. Or it allows you to use both your creative and research skills. Tie it back to how your skills will benefit the organisation.
- Summarise with your unique selling point (USP). What’s different about you? asks Noblet. Explain why you’re the best fit for this particular role and how your USP fits. Make sure you understand what the organisation wants. If your standard USP concentrates on handling big projects single-handedly, but the job involves brainstorming with a team you might want to change the wording slightly. Or if the organisation is looking for innovators, tailor your USP in the cover letter to your innovation credentials. Every part of your cover letter needs to be tailored to the job advert.
Finally, review your cover letter and ask yourself: “would I read this person’s resume?”
If you’re applying for a role in social work, you need to make a good first impression. Being a social worker is hard work, but also extremely worthwhile. So, what can you do to make sure your application is a certainty for the short list?
If you need some inspiration on what to include in your CV and cover letter, check out our handy examples. (Just remember not to copy them as exact templates.)
Cover letter example:
Dear Ms Name,
As a fully qualified [child/adult] social worker with [number] years experience, I feel I would be well-suited for the role of [job title] at [name of council or organisation]. Please find my CV attached.
The nature of my experience includes successfully managing a demanding caseload, which includes [elderly people/young children/people who have learning disabilities /mental health issues]. I have a [person-centred] approach to my work, which involves calmly and practically responding to service users to achieve the best outcomes. I am also experienced in coordinating care with other agencies, such as primary care practices and psychological services.
In addition, I have a particular interest in [...]. This stimulated me to lead a community project on [...]. As part of this, I had to liaise with [...] meaning that I have developed skills in [...]. I faced some challenges along the way, such as [...] and overcame them by [...]. The impact of the project overall was measured by/ has been evidenced in [...].
As shown by my experience in [social work/social work placements], I am enthusiastic about establishing what is best for the individual and always strive to do the best for service users. I am able to successfully manage a demanding caseload. I also have the enthusiasm and determination to ensure that I make a success of this role.
Thank you for taking the time to consider this application and I look forward to hearing from you in future.
CV and cover letter tips:
“The most important thing about your CV and cover letter is that everything you include is relevant,” says Craig Davis, head of social work for Sanctuary. “Don’t start going off on a tangent, or waffling – every part has to be tailored to the role you’re applying for.”
Tom Hawkins, director of Hays Social Care, adds that you should keep your cover letter short. “Don’t over-elaborate, and don’t repeat what’s on your CV. The key things you need to include are: the reason you’re applying, the reason you want to move on from your current employment, and the things that you have in your armoury that make you suitable for the job.”
As social work is a vocational profession, it’s also important that you evidence enthusiasm for the job. “Don’t be scared to sound passionate about what you do – why you do it and why you enjoy it,” he adds.
In your CV it’s also worth including any information that the hiring manager might need as a “tick box” exercise in the application process: such as whether you have an up-to-date DBS check, or registration with relevant social work bodies.
“Be as clear as you can in your writing,” says Hawkins. “So use bullet points to describe roles, rather than long and prosaic sentences. Try and start each bullet point with a verb, such as ‘created, managed, improved’ – this is a good way to focus info on what you did and the difference it made.”
As much as experience is important, it’s not the only thing hiring managers are looking for. “Some managers will look at someone who has less experience but is more enthusiastic – so be sure to get your passion for the work across in your writing,” adds Davis.
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