The Good Application pt. 1: The Cover Letter

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By Emil Wulff
Feb 02 2018 — Tips from the Recruiters

In our latest blog series, we’ll introduce you to our energetic team of Siteimprove recruiters and share their advice on how to land your dream job. We sat down with three of our recruiters to get tips on how to write a cover letter that makes you stick out from the crowd, whether you’re applying for a position at Siteimprove or elsewhere.

When sending an application for a job, it’s often a good idea to attach a cover letter to your résumé or CV. According to our talent acquisition specialists, a good cover letter is:

  •         Short and concise
  •         Customized
  •         Focused on your motivation
  •         Proofread
  •         Free of irrelevant information and quotes

Jacob and Katrine at Siteimprove's Sir Tim event

Do: Keep it short and sweet

We started out by talking about the length of the cover letter. The recruiters quickly agreed that it should be short — no longer than a single page — and as concise as possible.

Jacob: It’s very important to keep the cover letter brief and precise.

Martina: Yes. In this instance, less is actually more.

Katrine: Applicants have to remember that it’s a motivation letter, not a summary of your CV. Anything we can get from reading your CV, leave it out of the cover letter. You can, however, highlight skills from your CV that are particularly important for a certain position.

Jacob: Yes. I appreciate a short and sweet cover letter stating why you’re the right fit for the job and how we as employers will benefit from a set of specific skills that you have.

Do: Customize it

Customize your cover letter for the position you’re applying for. Don’t send the same cover letter to every job you apply for, and don’t be the person who sends a cover letter with another company name on it! Recruiters know that you’re probably applying for other jobs, but they also like to feel special!

Katrine: It’s really important that you do your research on the position and think about how your qualifications match it. Don’t make a generic cover letter, customize it!

Jacob: Exactly! The cover letter is the personal “seasoning” on top of your application. A standardized, generic cover letter makes you the same as everyone else, so make sure to stand out.

Martina: Read the job description carefully and go to the company’s website to gain an understanding of what they do. See if you can use some of the wording from the website in your cover letter.

Katrine: Not mentioning the company or position at all is a rookie mistake!

Do: Tell why you want this job

In your cover letter, you need to be very clear about why you want the job and why the company should want you. Recruiters want your cover letter to tell what your motivation is, not who you are. Save your personal information for your CV.

Martina: Tell us how we’ll benefit from employing you – how will your experience improve the company?

Jacob: Yes, what’s in it for us? You can highlight a few parts of the resume and explain how the company will benefit from that.

Martina: Also if a candidate is planning on relocating for the job, I’d like to know why they want to move here because that says something about their motivation. So in brief, the content of the cover letter should be: why this specific job, why this specific company, and why this country?

Do: Proofread

Being honest, delivering a cover letter without misspellings, and sending it in PDF format are some of the best practice tips from the Siteimprove recruiters.

Katrine: If you’re not great with grammar yourself, get someone to read your application for you.

Jacob: I don’t care that much about correct commas and grammar as such…

Katrine: It’s just important to bear in mind that you never know who’ll read your application. Some recruiters might throw your application straight to the bin if they’re distracted by incorrect grammar while others won’t mind.

Always upload your CV and cover letter in a PDF format, and it’s also highly recommended to use a readable font, although showing some creativity could make you stand out.

Jacob: My advice is: make us notice you! I don’t really care if you do that by using the Comic Sans font, or use smoke signals from fire. If you catch my attention, I want to meet up and talk.

Don’t: Quote 50 Cent

Finally, after getting all the pro tips to what you should do when creating your cover letter, our Talent Acquisition Specialists have a few things that you should avoid, all concerning the content of your cover letter.

Martina: I don’t want to read about what Siteimprove does. It happens too often that I read half a page about what we do – I know what we do so please don’t spend time explaining that!

Jacob: Don’t create a person that you think the company wants. Present the real you and the professional you are. If you have to be a different person to get a job and fit in, it won’t be a nice experience for anyone. Using interesting and catchy language to avoid the standard sentences is a great idea. However, you should be careful not taking it too far.

Katrine: Trying to be different can also be too much. Once, we received a cover letter that used lyrics from a 50 Cent song!

Jacob: No inspirational quotes either, please!

Katrine, Jacob, and Martina from the Siteimprove Talent Acquisition team

Think you're ready to give it a go? Head over to our open positions to send your application.

Stay tuned for The Good Application pt. 2: The CV

About the team

Katrine has been with Siteimprove since April 2015 and started working with recruitment back in 2011. Since 2014, she’s been recruiting full-time. Katrine is based in Copenhagen.

Martina started at Siteimprove back in September 2015 as a student assistant. In May 2017, she started as a full-time recruiter. Martina is based in Copenhagen.

Jacob has been with Siteimprove since November 2016. He has eight years of experience working with recruitment in various roles, mostly as a consultant but now as an internal recruiter. Jacob is based in Copenhagen.

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