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Help with writing an IT cover letter

Most employers ask would-be IT employees to submit an IT cover letter with their CVs or resumés. The letter should explain why the job-seeker is ideal for the position and give details of his or her interests and say why he or she is applying for the particular job. If you are applying for several IT jobs, each one should be tailored to fit the individual job descriptions. Don’t send the same IT cover letter to all employers. Take time to write each cover letter and go through it very carefully before sending it. Check for typos, use a spell check, and remember that it doesn’t always help, as you may have typed in a word that is spelled correctly, but which isn’t the right word for the sentence. It is best to get someone else to check your cover letter too. This is because when you write you understand exactly what you have written. Unfortunately, the recipient of the letter might not. Another person is best placed to advise you as to whether or not the letter is comprehensible.

Tailor the cover letter to match each separate job description.

 

Note that you may be asked to write a covering letter, which is the same as a cover letter.

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Look at the job advertisement carefully and as yourself who are you writing to? In the advertisement the person’s name that you should write to will appear. If it doesn’t, then address the letter in this way: - Dear Sir or Madam. This is very formal, and the letter must end with ‘Yours faithfully’.

Sometimes you are asked to send your cover letter to a Mr Mrs. or Ms. Smith. This means that you should end the letter ‘Yours sincerely.’ Ms is like Mr, it is a title for both married and single women. If you don’t know the woman you are writing too, using Ms is the best option.

Take care that you end appropriately as you need to show a prospective employer that you are aware of letter-writing conventions.

Emails are much less rigid and if you know the person’s first name you could end the email, kind/best regards.

You may think that you really don’t need to write a cover letter to accompany a CV because all the information required is contained in the resumé. However, the purpose of a covering letter is to highlight your relevant experience. It is also to introduce yourself and explain precisely why you are the perfect candidate for the job you are applying for.

You should mention what position you currently have, or if you are seeking your first job, explain what experience you have gained as an intern or while you were on a work experience programme.

In an IT cover letter, you must explain how you can be of value to the company. You need to play up your strong points and not denigrate yourself in any way. It’s fine to boast about your achievements and highlight your best qualities. For example, you can say that you always meet deadlines, and expound on your skills and achievements.

If you believe it is appropriate you can write about your key strengths as a list and use bullet points, like this: -

My main strengths are the following:

  • a proven track record of meeting or exceeding targets as regards customer care on the help desk
  • handling high-volume tickets and resolving issues for clients
  • technical knowledge which includes being proficient in using all versions of Windows and Microsoft packages
  • being able to deliver exceptional service
  • excellent time-keeping

If your cover letter does not look like a standard one, for example, if you use bullet points as above, it will stand out from all the other cover letters. Remember that you will certainly not be the only applicant for the IT post you are applying for.

Human Resources employees are adept at noticing gaps in candidates’ CVs, so address these in the cover letter. For example, if you took a gap year while you were studying, explain why you decided to do so. If, for example, you went travelling, explain what life skills you gained from your experiences. If you did voluntary work, say so and again, explain what skills you acquired. You could mention that you developed cross-cultural understanding for example, as this is important in a modern, multi-ethnic workplace. You can also play up the value of this and impress the person reading your letter.

Your communication skills were probably enhanced as you would have needed to communicate with people from a different culture. You would have had to make yourself understood in order to get what you wanted, for example a room in a hostel or hotel, or when asking for directions.

You may have picked up negotiating skills while bargaining for souvenirs or while attempting to get a cheaper price for a room. Although these situations won’t occur precisely in the workplace, being able to negotiate with your co-workers and managers is definitely a good skill to have.

Perhaps you have learned how to resolve conflicts. perhaps with fellow travellers or with the locals. Sometimes cross-cultural misunderstandings can result in a conflict situation. Being able to diffuse one is a very worthwhile skill which is valued in the workplace.

If you went on an extended trip, you would have had to plan it carefully. The ability to plan is also a valuable life skill that managers will appreciate.

It’s important. when you mention the skills you acquired when travelling to the skills that are needed in the workplace. Don’t simply make this kind of list: -

While travelling I developed the following life skills;

  • cross-cultural understanding
  • improved communication
  • improved negotiation
  • conflict resolution
  • forward planning

You need to state why these skills are important in the workplace and ensure your cover letter impresses the people who read it.

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