How to DOUBLE the chances of cover letter success


I see so many people firing off cover letters before doing some critical things that will help them stand out. Before you send in that cover letter, here are 5 questions to ask. They will in my opinion double the chances of your cover letter getting read and putting you a step above the rest. 


1/ Have you checked the Job Description?

So many people apply off the advert however often adverts are vague, poorly written or a list asking for superman/superwoman.

Find the Job Description either on the website or ask via email/ phone (see below).

Use this as the basis for you application, as it means you can match what you have to what they are looking for.

2/ Have you done the 80:20 check?

Can you tick off that you meet 80% (or min 70%) of the essential or desirable criteria asked for in the role? Go to the back of the Job description and the criteria or requirements are usually there.

If they ask for essential requirements and you don’t have them, there is no point in applying.

In terms of the “desirable” requirements – ideally you will have some of these. If not, hunt back through your past experience and see whether there is an example that is relevant you can list.

3/ Have you called?

Pick up the phone and call the organisation or contact. Yes that's right – speak to them. Why? It shows initiative and more importantly gets you speaking to the potential employer.

But what do I ask? Won't it sounds dumb?

If they haven’t provided the job description ask for that.

If they have, ask if it is a new or existing role, or some additional aspects as to why they are advertising now.

Get the name (and email) of the person you can address your cover letter to. Search them out on LinkedIn.

Follow up with a quick thank you email.

4/ Have you tailored it?

Make sure you match what you are saying to what they are asking in the role.

Say why you want to work for that organisation.

Give relevant examples that fit what is being asked for.

No generic cover letters that look like they have been sent to ten other organisations.

5/ Have you proofed it?

  • Spelling mistakes will kill your application.
  • Check spelling and readability.
  • Have someone else read it.

So there you have it - the 5 crucial things to ask before you send the cover letter.

Join me on a mission to help people find and do the work that makes them feel valued, engaged and that they are making a difference.

I am passionate about seeing people do what they are born to do - making an impact on the organisations, businesses and communities they are part of.

Drop me a line - LinkedIn with a note. Alternatively email me if you are a Massey student or if you are an aspiring professional.

Have a fantastic day and go for it!


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grant verhoeven