Cover letters aren’t always required when applying for a job, but they can help your application stand out. Many assume a cover letter is a rewrite of a CV, but this is incorrect. You should use your cover letter to complement your CV by expanding on a few relevant skills and abilities and explaining exactly why you should be considered for an interview.
Here’s how to go about crafting a strong cover letter that complements your horticulture CV.
Do your research
To write a strong cover letter, you need to conduct some research first – otherwise, you’re likely to struggle to get your points across concisely and accurately.
Before you begin writing, ask yourself:
- What are the key requirements in the job spec and which do you fulfil?
- Why does this position interest you?
- Who will receive your letter?
- What’s the company and its culture like?
- What are the organisation’s aims?
- Is there any sector or company news you should be aware of?
Answer these questions as best you can so you have the relevant information to start crafting your cover letter.
Map out the structure
Cover letters have a relatively strict structure. If you’re attaching your cover letter as a document to an email or sending a hard copy, your cover letter should resemble a formal business letter, with your address in the top right-hand corner, the company’s address just underneath on the left, and the date.
If you’re sending your cover letter as the body of an email, you can scrap these details and start by addressing the person who is receiving your application.
Paragraph 1: Your opening paragraph must state why you’re writing to the company, the role you’re applying for, and how you heard about the position.
Paragraph 2: Use the next paragraph to zoom in on a couple of your best, most relevant skills and why they make you a strong applicant.
Paragraph 3: Then impress the recruiter with your knowledge of the company and sector. Use your knowledge of the business and industry and your skill set to show what you can do for them and why you’re a fit for the role and organisation.
Paragraph 4: Finish your cover letter strongly by thanking them for reading your letter and stating your availability for a callback. This is much more proactive than ending with ‘I look forward to hearing from you’.
All that’s left to do is sign off with ‘Kind regards’, followed by your name.
Your cover letter should be one A4 page max, but don’t feel you have to use all the space – half a page is fine too, providing you’ve covered the required details.
Tailor and target
It can be tempting to send a generic cover letter with each application, but you’ll get much more value out of sending a tailored one.
Targeting your letter doesn’t often require a full rewrite, especially if the jobs you’re applying for are within the horticulture sector. Just tweak who you’re addressing the letter to, the skills that are relevant to the job, and any other details related to the company.
Small adjustments will help you make the interview shortlist as the recruiter will see you’re serious about the job.
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