The Impact of a Good Covering Letter

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Logo: Atmos Consulting

By Catherine Hibbert, Technical Director – Ecology, Atmos Consultants

Portrait photograph of the author Catherine Hibbert
Catherine Hibbert (Atmos Consulting)

Navigating the job application process can be daunting, especially when you're applying for your first position in the industry. Here are some of my thoughts as to what we are looking for when considering candidates and how to stand out from the crowd to secure that all important interview.

First Impressions Matter

First impressions are crucial, you want your application stand out and grab attention amidst the sea of other candidates.

With this in mind, it is crucial to grasp the application process requirements and adhere to them. While some applications call for a specific form, others may request both a CV and a covering letter.

Small pond in front of a sweeping countryside in North Wales
A sunny day on the job in North Wales (Atmos Consulting)

Surprisingly, we often receive applications lacking a covering letter when it's explicitly specified, thus diminishing the impact of the application. To maximize your chances, remember to submit both documents as instructed.

Further, why not consider taking the initiative to reach out and discuss the role over the phone. Taking a proactive approach like this demonstrates confidence, and distinguishes you from other candidates, creating a lasting impression.

Crafting an Exceptional Covering Letter

Your covering letter is not merely a rehashed version of your CV. It's your opportunity to delve deeper into specific aspects of your experience that are directly relevant to the role.

It should highlight relevant experiences in greater detail than what's captured in your CV. For example, if your Masters project aligns seamlessly with certain aspects of the role, seize this chance to showcase your expertise.

We like to see covering letters that outline your ambitions, transferable skills, and how they align with the role. Show us your enthusiasm and let it shine through your words.

A person holding a phone as an app monitors a peat probe in the ground in front of it
Peat Probing (Atmos Consulting)

Demonstrate that you have conducted research and background reading about our company, this speaks volume and signifies initiative and genuine interest.

If the job location poses a logistical challenge, such as being distant from your current address, address this matter and explain your plans to relocate, work remotely, or pursue a hybrid working model. By doing so, you demonstrate your thoughtful consideration of the role's requirements, dispelling any potential concerns about your location.

Consistency is key—ensure that your CV and covering letter complement each other. If you mention a particular skill in your covering letter, it should be readily apparent in your CV.

Finally, attention to detail goes a long way in leaving a positive impression. We are still surprised by the number of applications that we receive that are addressed to a different company!

The CV: A Window into Your Potential

The CV is your opportunity to provide a concise yet comprehensive summary of your experience, spanning from education to voluntary work, past and present employment, and relevant personal interests.

Survey equipment on the back of a truck on a rainy day
Surveying on a rainy day (Atmos Consulting)

It is critical to emphasise experiences that directly relate to the role—whether it's a volunteer project, paid employment, or a personal interest you actively pursue. Volunteer experience is highly regarded by employers, as it demonstrates your proactive approach to gaining expertise in areas you are passionate about.

If you're seeking a career change and most of your relevant experience lies in your spare time and volunteering, make sure to highlight this prominently. Bring it to the forefront of your CV to maximize its impact. Avoid burying key information that sets you apart—hidden gems or brief mentions of noteworthy accomplishments can easily go unnoticed.

Again, attention to detail is paramount, always conduct a thorough spell-check and ideally have someone else proofread your application. Typos can create an unfavourable impression and detract from your qualifications.

Lastly, include your phone number to ensure easy contact in the event of some exciting news!

I hope this information arms you well, to create a well-crafted and impressionable application to secure your role in the amazing career that the world of ecology has to offer.

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We eagerly await the opportunity to discover the unique talents and passion you bring to the table.

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Posted On: 14/06/2023

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