Adding a cover letter to your application will benefit you in more ways than you may think. At MTS Talent, we often turn to cover letters to clear up unanswered questions, or to gain further insight into the character of the candidate. One question we often look to the cover letter to answer is “why did this personal apply for the position?”. Although some find it unnecessary and chose to disregard this step, believe us when we say that adding a stand out cover letter to your application will greatly increase your chances of landing that interview. If you’re unfamiliar with writing, a cover letter may seem overwhelming, but we assure you if you put in some time and effort using our tips, you’ll be sure to stand out.
- Personalize your letter. Adding the name of the recruiter you’re addressing will add a personal touch. It will demonstrate you care about detail and putting in the little bit of extra effort to find out their name. Be careful when re-using standard cover letters, nothing can kill your chances for a interview faster than a cover letter addressed to a different company, for a different role.
- Keep it short and sweet. Lengthy cover letters will often be overlooked, as we know from experience, irrelevant or repetitive information are often added as “fillers”. Sticking to the point and clearly articulating why you are the best fit for the role will give the impression that you’re an efficient, to the point kind of worker. We suggest not running over ¾ of a page – but definitely do not exceed 1 page.
- Remain focused. Referring to the points in the job advert can help you highlight your most important skills needed for the job. Recruiters are often looking for candidates that have the skills and qualifications listed; so mentioning these key words, along with some personal examples will be sure to help you stand out. Also remember, many companies use application software to screen applicants, these system will not only search your CV but also your cover letter for potential matches. The closer your profile matches the job description, the better your chances are that the Recruiter will personally review your application.
- Know the company. Researching the organization you’re applying to in advance will help you to tailor your cover letter in the same style and tone that the company uses. Additionally, referring to certain research you came across can help impress the recruiter and add a genuine sense of enthusiasm. Also take note of the specific language the company uses, for example do they refer to “affiliate offices”, “local operating companies (LOCs)” or “country organisations”. Including the same language in your cover letter will show your interest in the company and that you spent the time to understand their culture.
- Refrain from reiterating your CV. Use this opportunity to provide the recruiter with some extra information they can’t find on your CV. Although all the information should be relevant, adding some extra personal touches and work experience examples will help the recruiter gain a strong overall impression of who you are.
- Add some personality. Keep your cover letter professional, but also add some of your character charm. Recruiters read a lot of cover letters on a weekly basis, so adding a “hope you’re well” or a friendly tone that runs throughout the letter will make you seem like a breath of fresh air and demonstrate your strong interpersonal skills. Try to avoid the “corporate speak” which gives an impersonal feel. Speaking to what you can offer the potential employer in a more personal way will increase your chances of them wanting to meet you.
- Include a signature. Make sure to conclude your letter with a personal salutation like “warm regards” or “yours truly”. This will tie your letter together and demonstrate your professionalism for business etiquette. You can even add your own personal hand-written signature for an extra personal touch.
- Proof read. Be sure that no spelling or grammar mistakes are present in your letter. This will give the impression you’re careless and unobservant, which are definitely not skills the recruiter is looking for. In Switzerland, applying to jobs in English can be tricky if you’re not a native speaker. Often times minor mistakes will be forgiven; just don’t leave out the crucial step of re-reading it or even having someone else proof read it for you.
- Name your file accordingly. If attaching your cover letter to an email or an application, be aware that the recruiter will see the file name. Although this may seem like a minor detail, we’re very aware of the name of the cover letter our candidates save their files as. Be sure to include your name when you save the file. Consider that your file will be saved in a database with many others; you will want to ensure the recruiter attaches your files to the correct profile. Also, naming your file accordingly will contribute to your impression as a detail-oriented candidate. At MTS Talent, we use a file naming structure that allows us to quickly locate documents such as “candidate name_cover letter_date”.
Keep in mind that finding you dream job takes work. Putting the extra effort into your application is crucial in such a competitive industry like the Life Sciences industry, whether you’re seeking to be an interim or permanent hire.
While you work on that outstanding cover letter, why don’t you take a moment to enter our MTS database to find out if we have any open positions right for you…
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Kelly Brändli, Founder and Managing Director of MTS Talent services has over 15 years of experience in the life sciences industry. Since 2010, she has grown MTS Talent into Switzerland’s leading Life Science interim staffing provider, supplying high-caliber Marketing & Medical Affairs Talent on an interim and contract basis.