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Career Advice

How to write a Cover Letter

Your cover letter is a crucial part of the job application process. It should be used to demonstrate your understanding of the role and company and show how your skills and abilities match the vacancy perfectly.  

Golden rules
There are three golden rules to writing an attention-grabbing cover letter:

  1. Remind the recruiter what they're looking for. 
  2. Tell them you are what they're looking for (how you fit the job description). 
  3. Demonstrate why you are the best choice.

Keep it that simple. Future bosses and hiring managers need to assess candidate suitability in a matter of seconds. They will use your cover letter to make sure you tick-off the job description must-haves and only move onto your CV for more detail if you do. 

Here’s an example to guide you through crafting a faultless cover letter. Let’s start with the ad you need to respond to....

Sample job ad: 
Call Centre Manager

About the role 
Credible from the word go, you'll ensure the smooth running of call centre operations at either our Fareham or Southampton sites (300-350 seats in each), championing exceptional customer service.

More than that, we'll look to you to devise, develop and deliver new call centre strategies, constantly improving our call centre operations. 

About You
There’s no rulebook or script for you to follow – just your instincts. After all, your knowledge of call centre technology and industry developments is in depth and up to the minute – as is your practical call centre experience. Experience in a similar role is essential. 

Interpreting the job adThe description of the role requires you show evidence of:

  • Leadership skills to ensure the call centre runs smoothly. 
  • Ability to implement your own ideas to improve call centre operations.The candidate description requires you can demonstrate:
  • Knowledge of call centre technology and industry developments. 
  • Practical experience in a similar role.

All of this will need to be included in your cover letter. 

Planning a response (by email)Here are a few tips to help you with the structure and content of your cover letter.

Try and find out a contact name so you can personalise your letter or email

Use the first paragraph to briefly explain why you’re writing to them 
here it’s your interest in the call centre manager vacancy. 
Over the next paragraph or two 

  1. Outline your qualifications and match them to the job spec. 
  2. Use bullet points to get maximum impact with as few words as possible. 
  3. Be specific – if you can include a figure or two, so much the better. 

Be enthusiastic and show them you’ve done your research on the company. 

In the final paragraph, point the addressee to the CV you have attached or enclosed for further details, and thank that person for his time and consideration.

It’s a good idea to sign off with a positive statement to prompt the recruiter to take action.

Be assertive and never apologetic. 

With all this in mind, here’s a sample response on email.

Note that a written letter should be more formal; address to a Mr/Mrs and finish with Yours sincerely.

Sample response:

Dear Mr Smith 

I’m keen to be considered for the call centre manager role based in Fareham or Southampton as seen on, ref: T1234. I have three years' experience as a call centre team leader, managing 65 people for a leading UK household insurer, Endsleigh.

During this time I have:

  • Decreased customer waiting times by 4% by incentivising quick call responses and a colour coded display to inform team members of customer waiting times. 
  • Cross-trained the team which has increased job satisfaction (reducing absenteeism and sickness) and eased holiday or off-site training cover. 
  • Championed implementation of WidgetsRus load balancing software as presented at the Annual Call Centre Technology Conference. Early indications are that the software has increased productivity by 2%. 

I would relish the challenge of working for such a high profile company and admire your commitment to customer service. I can assure you that my experience, industry knowledge and track record to date make me a strong candidate for this role. Please find my CV attached for further details. I look forward to hearing from you.

Yours sincereley,

Chris Jones

To sum up, keeping your cover letters short (about 250-300 words long), specific and upbeat will increase your chances of job hunt success!

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