How and WHY you should tailor your motivational letter
You’ve heard it said that first impressions count. Well, when applying for a job your motivational letter that goes with your CV is the very first impression the recruiter has of you, so yes, it absolutely counts. The purpose of your motivational letter (also called a covering letter) is to get recruiters and employers to look at your CV. So the reality is, no matter how good your CV is, there’s a chance it won’t even be seen if your motivational letter is lacking.
Tailor Your Motivational Letter for Better Results
Your motivational letter is a recruiter and prospective employers' best chance to get a glimpse of who you are, and why you would be a perfect fit in the job.
Take the time to tailor your motivational letter to each job you’re applying for before you send it out. The same generic motivational letter sent again and again will reduce your chances of cutting through the noise and landing the interview. Whereas a tailored motivational letter will help the reader to understand how your personality, skills and experience are best suited to their job requirements, which increases your chance of landing the interview.
Here are some tips on how to tailor your motivational letter to make it that much more PERSONAL
P – Personal but professional. Remember, this is a professional business communication. No slang or overfamiliarity and stick to the correct format.
E – Explain why you’re interested in the job. If there is something specific about the role or company which caught your attention, express that interest in the motivational letter.
R – Read the job spec twice over. And then read it again. When you are applying for numerous jobs every month, week or even every day, it can be tempting to throw the same thing out there and see what sticks. Be warned, this approach has very little success rate. Better to take the time before you even start your motivational letter to make sure you have really gotten to grips with every position you are applying for. The better you understand the needs of the employer, the better you can tailor your motivational letter to suit the specs and the better your chance of a recruiter or employer noticing your application.
S – Summarise your USP’s. What are your Unique Selling Points (USP’s)? These don’t have to be education-orientated or related to experience you’ve gained but can equally be personality or character based. For example, if you are an introvert applying for a remote role, be sure to mention you are a hard worker who has the ability to deliver work on time with little supervision as you are self-motivated.
O - Only hit send once you’ve done a thorough proofread through your motivational letter. Make sure it is free from typos or grammatical errors.
N - Names matter. If you know the name of the person you are sending the email to, it’s a nice touch to personalise the cover letter. People like to see their name in print. If you don’t, it is equally as acceptable to start the letter with a generic “Good Day.”
A - Align your skills to the role being advertised. Point out how your skill set aligns with the position you are applying for. Connect the dots for the reader; show how your qualification, training and experience perfectly equip you to perform the job. Use the same language as the job specification. Should a company be using an automated Applicant Tracking System, your CV has a better chance of standing out.
L – Leave desperation at the door. As tempting as it may be, don’t beg for a job in your motivational letter. Do not include personal stories of hardship and desperation; rather sell yourself based on your skills.
When you tailor your motivational letter it takes time and effort, but it shows you have a real interest in the job you are applying for. It’s a guaranteed way of grabbing the recruiter and employers attention and will greatly increase your chances of landing an interview.