Often, students don’t realise that when they provide lots of examples in their cover letters, they can actually be causing more harm than good. Yes, it’s important to give various examples to prove you’re right for the role, but ensuring you give enough detail is key!
So here are my top tips…
- It’s best to include just one example per paragraph
- Examples should vary between work, academic, personal and extra-curricular
- Avoid listing a range of responsibilities / job tasks you have done
- Focus on the most important/impressive/relevant experiences
- Implement the ‘STAR’ technique (Situation, Task, Action, Result) to explain examples
- Give relevant details (facts/figures)
- One example should highlight a range of relevant skills
So examples should be specific – think of a time when you have done something that can demonstrate a variety of important skills for the role.
What not to do
‘I have acquired substantial knowledge related to cyber security such as the mathematics behind cryptography, public and private key cryptography, the fundamentals of SSH and many more. I have also greatly enhanced my coding skills in programming languages such as java, C and Python by completing multiple projects.’
- The employer doesn’t get a sense of what kind of achievements you made – how can they assess how good you are in these areas without a specific example?
- Listing all the areas you’ve studied also gives the impression that you don’t know which is most important / impressive for the role – the key is to stand out!
A better example…
‘I believe I will thrive when adapting to the differing roles. In my role at Missguided, Selfridges, I demonstrated this skill whilst adapting to a sales environment and winning the ‘Sales Assistant of the Week’ award. I achieved this by working closely with my team to learn best practice in providing a high-quality service for customers. I was attentive, recommended additional products in line with their tastes, and hence, exceeded my sales target’
- Example shows adaptability, teamwork, communication, drive and ability to learn quickly.
- Gives detail in how achievements were made
For some constructive feedback on your cover letter, book a CV and Applications Advice appointment!