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Brilliant Cover Letters by James Innes

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CHAPTER 4
Specialist cover
letters
including letters
of application
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I
n most lines of work, a one-page cover letter with accompanying CV
is all that a prospective employer is likely to ask of you. However, there
are certainly exceptions to this and the aim of this chapter is to help
prepare you to deal with those exceptions.
Some employers will of course prefer an application form system which
often doesn’t involve a cover letter at all but we’ll discuss application
forms in greater detail in Chapter 9.
This chapter will instead focus on the so-called ‘letters of application’,
looking in further detail at a few popular lines of work where such letters
are increasingly the norm.
Letter s of application
What exactly is a letter of application?
Aren’t the speculative and advert-response letters that we’ve already
covered letters of application?
Most recruiters refer to a speculative or advert-response letter quite
simply as a ‘cover letter’. If you’re ever specifically asked for a ‘letter of
application’ they’re normally expecting something quite different from
you.
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98 brilliant Cover L etters
Letters of application are more popular in some sectors than others, but
a lot depends on the whims of the individual employer. Regardless of your
line of work, you might occasionally find yourself faced with a request for
a letter of application, so it pays to know how to handle them.
Creating a powerful advert-response letter is
the best starting point. This will give you the
basic skeleton you need for a successful letter
of application. However, you will be expected
to build on this considerably.
Your task is to examine the job description and/or person specification in
detail and demonstrate in your letter of application exactly how you meet
their criteria, backing up your statements with specific examples where
possible.
Isn’t this what you’d do for an advert-response letter anyway?
Yes. But the difference is the level of detail you will be required to give.
The end result will inevitably stretch to a couple of pages possibly even
more.
Whilst it’s undoubtedly a fair amount of work, if you get it right it is also
a great opportunity for you to sell yourself and really steal a march on
your competition.
Teaching
One profession where letters of application are especially popular is the
teaching profession.
When applying for jobs in teaching, a powerful cover letter or letter of
application can almost be more important than the CV it accompanies.
brilliant
definition
‘Letter of application’
A letter of application is a cross between a traditional advert-response letter
and the ‘personal statement’ section of a traditional application form.
creating a powerful
advert-response letter is
the best starting point
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Recruiters for teaching posts place great emphasis on the cover letter and
will expect you to go into a much higher level of detail than the ‘average’
cover letter, particularly for the more senior vacancies.
It is a good idea to briefly summarise your academic qualifications, high-
lighting any that are linked to your specialist subject area. Continuing
Professional Development (CPD) is of course very important in teaching
and your cover letter is a good opportunity to elaborate further on any
additional training, including INSET (In-Service Education and
Training) days.You can then go on to emphasise significant achievements
such as positive Ofsted inspections or record exam results.
Whilst you will no doubt have covered this in your CV, it is also worth
making brief mention of your involvement in extracurricular activities.
Recruiters will be looking for evidence that you really want to get involved
with all aspects of school life, contribute to the community and build
relationships with their students both in and out of the classroom.
Of particular importance for teaching positions is the ability to demon-
strate in your letter that you have researched the specific school in
question and that you share their vision and ethos. The ‘personal touch’
is vital.
Medicine
Although recruitment to medical posts is increasingly conducted via
application forms, a letter of application with accompanying CV is still
essential for many vacancies.
As a medical professional, you’ll possess extensive qualifications following
many years of training and very possibly many years of experience.Your
prospective employers will definitely want to know all about this, and so
your cover letter will inevitably be more complex and longer than the
average.
There are a number of different areas you may want to consider high-
lighting in your cover letter:
G Clinical skills
G Audits
Specialist cover letters including letters of application 99
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