Cover letters are out.
Personal Introductions are in.
Can you imagine what it must have been like applying for jobs before email? Paper and envelopes and stamps! And waiting days to hear back from people! Madness! Now it’s all email which is great for you, for us and for the planet. But not so great for Royal Mail.
Now job applications consist of an email, often blank, with a CV attached. Not the most exciting thing you’ll receive! And cover letters seem to be a thing of the past. Like fax machines. And soda streams. And Rick Astley. You get the picture...
Anyway, the cover letter was a really useful tool as it showed a bit more personality than a CV and was the bit you could tailor to each job to show you’d done your research and were genuinely interested.
So here are two things you can do to make your job application stand out and make the reader enthusiastic about opening that attachment!
Include a Personal Introduction
1. At the start of your CV
What should you include?
- It’s a pitch – so keep it short and to the point. One or two short paragraphs is fine. Don’t ramble – you don’t need to put in your life story but just enough so that the reader knows...
- What you’ve been up to most recently? Is it relevant to what you’re applying for?
- What are you looking for next? Step up? Fresh challenge? New environment?
- What you’re good at – match your skills to the job you’re applying for. If the job is for a packaging design with retail, and you’re the King/Queen of packaging design and have worked on some fantastic retails brands, put that in. Leave out the things that aren’t relevant to this particular job.
- Again – none of this needs to go into in great detail. Keep your points snappy and save the details for the rest of the CV. This is just your opening gambit.
2. In the email body
If you’re emailing directly, it’s definitely worth including a tailored message to the place/person you’re applying.
Who is it for?
Tailor it. Don’t use a standard one for all as it’s pretty obvious and makes you seem either lazy or not really that bothered about the job and just sending your CV off willy-nilly. If you can, maybe find out the name of the person it’s going to and address it to them directly, although I don’t think this is a deal breaker.
Why are you applying?
Everyone loves a bit of flattery and there’s nothing nicer than getting an email saying you’re brilliant. (not fishing – honest!) So let the reader know why you’re applying for THIS job. Is it your dream agency? Do you pass a project they’ve worked on every day on your cycle to work and are just blown away? What about this role is it that appeals to you? Show you are interested!
A bit about you
Most people say exactly what is on their CV so it needs to be something that’s a bit more personal - something special about you and speaks volumes about your personality. Rather than your life history, talk about your values/what you believe in and strive for in life and, as an extension, at work.
It’s not your CV
You don’t have to re-hash everything that’s on your CV, this email should show a bit of personality, engage the reader and be what makes them want to open the attachment. Make sure you don’t become too casual though – it’s not a WhatsApp message – keep it professional but friendly.
Attention to detail
This is in the same vein as the one above – pay close attention to spelling and grammar. It may be a quick email written on the hoof but you still need to make sure it reads nicely and isn’t full of mistakes.
Now go forth and write award winning job applications! Good luck!