Job Search Advice

Many of the RWA team are experienced IT professionals themselves and understand exactly what it’s like to be looking for work in New Zealand’s tech industry. From interview advice to CV writing tips, we’re here to help you secure that dream job.

Writing an Effective Cover Letter

Writing a Cover LetterThe importance of writing a cover letter has been debated for some time, with candidates often wondering whether it’s worth the effort. However, the reality is that a great cover letter is still a fantastic way to set yourself apart from other, equally-qualified IT professionals. Although it won’t get you the job by itself, it can certainly be your passport to securing an interview. Before submitting an application for your next IT role, be sure to read through our tips on writing an excellent IT cover letter.

Start Strong

Often, the first sentence or two are pivotal in a hiring manager’s decision to continue reading or not. They’ll also likely have piles of submissions to sift through, so you need to catch their attention from the outset.

Typically, candidates have written formal introductions to tech cover letters along the lines of, “I’m applying for X job that I saw advertised in Y place”. This approach will dilute your presence and hinder any chances of standing out. Instead, start strong by expressing something punchier. Look at what excites you about a job and find a way to illustrate your passion for the work and an enthusiasm for the job and company. Why are you the person they are looking for?

Try stating some key accomplishments from previous IT jobs that highlight positive outcomes. For example: “My extensive experience in HTML and JavaScript enabled me to complete projects ahead of time, saving $X for my employer. I’d like to bring my skills as a Web Developer to the Senior Developer role at Company XYZ”.

Show Some Personality

Writing an IT cover letter needn’t be a formal declaration of skills and experience or simply repeating the contents of a CV. It’s a great opportunity to inject some personality and connect with the reader by showcasing the qualities that accentuate your unique attributes. Maintaining a friendly and upbeat tone coupled with an enthusiastic approach will keep you in good stead to get into the ‘YES’ pile. It’s worthwhile remembering to maintain a certain level of professionalism throughout your document and avoid becoming too casual.

Highlight Culture Fit

It’s not just about the job though. Although often overlooked, it’s also important to shed light on why the company is a perfect culture fit, too. Try to offer employers an insight into how you will interact with potential team members.

One of the best ways to ascertain a company’s culture is to look for cues on their website, social media platforms and even review sites like Glassdoor. Do they come across as more corporate with professional headshots and formal posts or are they dressed more casually? Blog articles and job adverts will often offer further insights into company values and ideas as well.

Sell Yourself

A CV captures information about the skills, qualifications and the experiences of an IT candidate, but beyond that, the employer will want to learn more about the story behind an application – essentially, it’s the cover letter’s job to convince its reader that you should be on the shortlist for the interview stage. To explain why you are the most suited person for the role, the job advertisement is a great resource to use to pinpoint and mirror the skills and experience the employer is seeking.

When writing a cover letter, be sure to tailor it to each job you apply for. Using templated responses will be obvious to employers, so do your research and stay away from vague and generic phrases. Navigate through the job advertisement here too, as you can speak to specific phrases and wording that the employer has used to aid in customising your IT cover letter. What’s in it for them? What will you bring to the organisation?

Keep Your Word Count Down

It can be difficult to keep your word count contained, especially when you want to put your best foot forward and relay every career win and achievement. Keep in mind that most employers do not have the time to go through lengthy cover letters, especially when accompanied by a CV. Our advice is to be succinct and limit it to a maximum of one page – unless a specific length has been requested. After writing, take some time to review and proof read your story (perhaps ask a friend too!).

Final Thoughts

Cover letters can either open or close the doors to an interview. Of all the cover letter tips we have shared, the most prominent point is to not overlook how important they are.  For more advice on writing an IT cover letter, or for support in your IT job search, get in touch with the team at RWA Technology People.

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