Cover Letters – Finding a voice

20 Dec

As a disclaimer, I’m not an expert on bagging the perfect job.  I’m simply blogging from the point of view of a person, who has spent a large proportion of my working life as an actor…

Cover letters…

I actually have a little bit of experience in recruitment and I have read dozens and dozens of cover letters and statements as a recruitment assessor.  (It was one of my random in-between-acting-jobs jobs).

The thing I remember from assessing is that I wanted to do my job quickly and efficiently, especially when I dealt with large volumes of applications. When assessing, anything that sped up the process, allowed me to reject an application, and move on to the next, was a bonus. This included:

Spelling and grammar. One thing I could never get my head around is: why, in a world filled with spell checkers, would you screw up your spellings? Seriously, those squiggly red lines under your words are there for a reason!

Write in a professional tone. The letter had to be appropriate to the audience; therefore it had to be written in way that sold the applicant as a professional person capable of performing the job to the highest standards.

Word limits – I love a good read, but seriously when the limit was ‘50 words’ – it was exactly that.

Well, I know what not to do. Now to: marketing me. How do I sell ‘me’ to a potential employer? This is where I want to introduce a bit of individuality.  I have my personal skills and I need to show how these will benefit the company. From great admin abilities to strong presentation and communication skills, where does this apply to the potential position?

So far it all feels a little dry, and what I want to do is find is my voice. I’m a career changer with several years of professional experience behind me. Because I am arriving from an unconventional working background, I should market that in a fresh, professional and interesting manner to my potential employers. I’m not suggesting I quote Shakespeare in my letter, but maybe, just maybe, I can add a flavour of personality to present a human face in my cover letter.

All this is easier said than done, but it’s a fun little challenge to set myself.



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