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How to Write the Perfect IT Cover Letter

24 Jan 20 by Sourced

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As an IT specialist, writing a cover letter may sometimes feel like a challenge. More often than not, your skills are highly sought-after anyway, so why put the effort into one when your experience speaks for itself?


The reality is, writing a succinct and compelling IT cover letter is an essential part of a job application that can help you stand out from the crowd. They’re often the hiring manager’s introduction to you as a candidate and investing some time to showcase your passion and personality – as well as your experience – can go a long way. Next time you’re applying for a job, give your application the very best chance to succeed and follow these five key cover letter tips.


Tailor Your Content

It’s all too easy to think that you can simply send through your CV with a standardised cover letter that summarises your experience. However, the purpose of a cover letter is to demonstrate your interest in working with a particular company, delivering a particular role. Instead of sending a generic document, take the time to consider the recruiter or hiring manager who is trying to narrow down their shortlist. What are they looking for, and how can you demonstrate you have it in your letter?


When writing an IT cover letter, focus on the requirements of the role and showcase your skills and experience specific to that position. You’ll want to tell them exactly how you can add value through your specific set of skills, and while this can sometimes feel like “showing off”, it’s all about meeting their needs.


Include Relevant Keywords

With highly competitive roles, one of the best ways to get noticed is to include keywords in your cover letter, particularly when relating to technical expertise or qualifications.


Read through the position description and circle any keywords or phrases you think are important. Then ensure you tick them off as you include them in your cover letter, showing the hiring manager that you have experience with the systems or software that are critical to succeed in the role.

For example, you could start your letter with “My experience with SQL, Javascript, CSS and Bootstrap makes me the ideal candidate for your recently advertised role of Front-End Developer with XYZ organisation”.


Or if you work as a Project Manager, you can highlight your experience and understanding of different methodologies. For example: “As Project Manager with XYZ company, I have worked on large-scale software upgrade projects using best practice methodologies including Agile, PRINCE 2, MSP and JIRA.”


Keep It Short and Sharp

The length of Tech cover letters is often debated but remember – the hiring manager will likely be reading through a stack of them and only spend a minute or two reading yours. With this in mind, aim for between three and five paragraphs, and definitely no longer than a page. A great structure to use covers the following:


  1. Introducing yourself and demonstrating your interest in the role and the company
  2. Addressing key requirements in the position being advertised and how your experience matches this (including keywords and phrases)
  3. Wrapping up and providing contact details

If there’s a lot you need to address in the cover letter, or if you have been asked specifically as part of the application process to include certain information, consider using bullet points to provide it in an easy-to-digest format. Including a bulleted list of your credentials and technical skills will also help you hit the keywords and phrases outlined earlier.


Sell Yourself and Your Achievements

In addition to your skills and qualifications, try to include at least one example that demonstrates results. It can be all too easy to focus on experience, but nothing makes candidates stand out better than providing measurable metrics.


Again, review the position description and see if you have any relevant examples that you can include. Think about key points such as delivering on time (or early), managing a project worth $X million, overseeing a team of X people, or building a website that achieved X visitors in the first month.


Proofread It

This one is obvious, but it’s a step that is often forgotten in the rush to submit applications quickly. Communication is a core skill within many jobs in the IT industry, and your cover letter not only shows how well you can write but is also an insight into your attention to detail. Before you send it, make sure to proofread for spelling and grammatical errors. Better yet, get a second set of eyes to review it for you too.


Summary

While it may be a part of the process you wish you could skip, the humble cover letter is a critical part of the recruitment process, so it’s well worth taking the extra time to make yours really shine.


If you need help fine-tuning your IT cover letter for your next Tech job application or are on the lookout for new opportunities, get in touch with our specialist team at Sourced.