Cover letters are important as they are your chance to make a lasting first impression. Remember that a cover letter will almost always be the first contact an employer has with you, as such you should aim to make the very best professional introduction as possible. The cover letter is your chance to shine, so make sure you put in as much effort as you do with your CV, it’s no less important! Follow our advice below to find how to write a great charity cover letter.
Are you submitting a CV? Make sure you send a cover letter as well! We are aware that the job application process can be time-consuming and that charity jobs can be quite competitive, but you would be surprised at a number of applications sent without a cover letter! If an employer asks you to apply via CV and cover letter, you absolutely must provide a cover letter, if you don’t then your application will simply not be considered.
This is essential, copy-pasted generic cover letters are nearly worthless, the purpose of a cover letter is to make your CV stand out from the crowd, if it’s copy-pasted, obviously from a template or simply not in reference to the advertised position, then the application is likely to be rejected. So, make sure you tailor it to the job and organisation you’re applying to, and even though it can time consuming, this must be done for every application. Furthermore, each cover letter must be unique.
Blind generic CVs without a cover can even be considered as spam! So be careful. Make sure the job is referenced, the relevant department and ideally a named staff member. This isn’t always possible in the charity sector, so if you can’t address the cover letter to a person, then do so for the organisation and department. Show that you have looked at the job advert and that you are a relevant candidate, but don’t go into too much detail, under 500 words is fine.
Recruiters receive a lot of applications, especially in this sector so you need to make sure yours stands out. Show off your skills in reference to your current role and achievements. If you have the room try and include pieces of evidence that explain why you’re the right person for the job. Try to briefly address the job description and how you fit the requirements. You need to be professional, but try and show a little personality, after all, recruiters are often looking for the best cultural fit, in the charity sector, an example of your volunteering work can be a great way to do this.
Brevity is the soul of wit, someone once said – it might have been Shakespeare – but funnily enough, this holds true for your charity cover letter. Unless you have been given a specific word count (and you might!) The general consensus seems to be about a page but online this isn’t too clear. An A4 page would be between 600 and 800 words depending on spacing. Many recruiters may expect less, so you should aim to include as much relevant information as possible while remaining under five paragraphs of text. The best approach here is to not discuss anything in detail which is clearly covered on your CV.
Close the cover letter with a positive but formal tone. In closing your cover letter you want to clearly indicate your interest and make it clear to the recruiter to you expect to hear from them. You don’t want to spend too long here, but make sure you sign off, a quick “thank you for your consideration” or even “thanks in advance” if appropriate. However you close, you’ll want to end your cover letter by prompting the recruiter to go on reading to your CV or the next part of your application, you should consider this the point of a cover letter.
Ready to get some good cover letters out to some great jobs? Check out the latest charity jobs today!