Cover Letter Guide

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Depending on the position, employers receive on average 5 to 25 cover letters for a vacancy. How do you make your cover letter stand out so that you're invited for an interview? With the tips below (including useful tips from HR professionals!) It can hardly go wrong!

Beforehand: prepare your online profiles!

Are you going to apply? Then Google yourself before you send your first cover letter. Do you come across photos or messages that could negatively influence your application? Clean up your public Twitter, Facebook and Instagram profile so that your potential employer gets a good picture of you.

Also update your LinkedIn page so that it matches your cover letter and resume. This looks more professional, so you make a good first impression.

Cover letter in the email or as an attachment?

In many cases you can apply throght a job website or web form, but an email cover letter is also often possible.

When applying by email you can choose to place your cover letter in your email, or to send your cover letter as an attachment. However, the best option is to use both options.

Use your email as an introduction to your cover letter, which has been added as a Word or PDF attachment. A simple 'See attachment for my cover letter' isn't enough. You must give the recipient a reason to open your cover letter. Don't give a brief explanation of yourself and the reason why you're applying, and encourage the recruiter to view the attachment.

Choose a good subject line

When applying by email, choosing a good subject line is very important. This is the 'title' of your cover letter in the inbox of your potential employer. So make sure it stands out in a positive way.

A simple 'cover letter' isn't enough, and also with 'Application - [job title]' you don't stand out. Emoticons or strange characters, on the other hand, are too conspicuous. Keep it informative and somewhat concise so that the recipient can properly organize the incoming emails.

For example, choose:

"Application - [job title] ([identifying reference number]) - [Your name]" "Application - [job title], [identifying reference number]

This then becomes:

"Application - Data analyst (ref. 2311) - Mark Smith" "Application - Senior Mechanical Design Engineer, vac. code 62564688

Also make sure you apply throght a neutral email address. An application from or looks somewhat unprofessional to say the least. A new email address is created quickly and free of charge, and simply transfer it to your existing email address.

Write your cover letter

Now for what it's all about: your cover letter.

The content of the letter must generate interest with the recipient. You can achieve this by expressing your qualities in the letter and explaining the motivation. The correct word choice differs per branch and per function.

There are therefore no set rules for writing a letter of motivation. There are a few things that make reading your cover letter more pleasant, and therefore will leave a positive impression on the recruiter:

Make sure you use good language - no long sentences and woolly words, but formulate a clear story; Explain why the vacancy is written for you; Show in your motivation that you have read the vacancy text, possibly by quoting points or passages from the vacancy text; Avoid job clich├ęs (more on that later!) A good cover letter has a clear format. This makes it a logical story and makes reading pleasant.

The opening - state the purpose of your letter in 2 or 3 sentences. The core - light in 3 or 4 paragraphs (possibly with more difficult positions) why you fit the vacancy and vice versa. You can explain your work experience, education and motivation here in a positive, but not overly positive way. The conclusion - here you can state that you would like to explain the cover letter in a personal interview. You can also indicate which attachments you have sent. Cliches and other turn-offs

Try to avoid these cliche words, both in your cover letter and on your resume:

"I'm a team player, but I can also work independently" 'Administrative centipede' 'I'm a hard worker' "I don't have a 9 to 5 mentality" "I have good communication skills" '... it seems to be a challenging position'

Does one of these points apply to you? Try to express it differently, but above all to explain why this is the case.

Useful tips

Use email tracking software such as Streak, Bananatag or YesWare . This allows you to monitor whether your cover letter email is opened, and how often it's read.

Are you about to send your cover letter? First read this one carefully! Don't trust your spell check blindly, because it only looks for spelling mistakes and not for style errors .

Also check the salutation in your email. Certainly if you send multiple cover letters in one day, it may still be 'Dear Mr De Jong' instead of 'Dear Mrs. De Vries'. If this happens, your cover letter will disappear straight into the trash. You can't make a worse first impression!

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