Writing a compelling cover letter for actuary roles
In a study of HR professionals and recruiters by CV Writers, we found opinions divided on the value placed on a cover letter. Whilst 2/3 of those surveyed would read a CV whether a covering letter was present or not, the other 1/3 would only read a CV if a cover letter was included as part of the application. As a job seeker you therefore cannot afford to take a risk and it is always best to include a covering letter.
Keep it brief
Three to four paragraphs is fine. If your cover letter has drifted to a second page then you may be including too much detail. It is worth remembering that a CV and cover letter are about getting an interview, not winning the job. You should elaborate on points and reinforce key strengths you feel are important for the reader to be aware of - but keep it brief.
So what information should I write about?
Without doubt the most important piece of advice is to ensure you mirror the requirements of the person specification of the job you are applying for. You will be assessed against this. It is therefore vital that you read the specification carefully and provide definitive evidence of how you meet what the employer is looking for. Focus on what you know are the key points in the specification and those that are aligned most to your achievements.
Specific examples are best
It is one thing to claim you can do something. It is quite another to prove it. Your cover letter will be much more of a draw if you can use specific examples to demonstrate your skills in a particular area. Moreover, if you know what the results were in terms of business benefits and you can articulate these in facts and figures then this will be really useful.
Should I include information about my personal circumstances?
In short, you should only include information that will aid your application. In the UK you are of course protected by various pieces of equal opportunities legislation so there is no need to reveal any information regarding religion, sex, race or disability. You want your application to be assessed purely on your ability to do the job so generally it is better not to include any personal information.
The call to action
The primary call to action for a covering letter is to get the recruiter to look at your CV. It’s only after reading your CV that any decision about inviting you to interview will be made so sign off by politely pointing the reader to your CV to find out more.
This article is written by Neville Rose, Director of CV Writers. If you need help with your CV or LinkedIn profile CV Writers are the official partner to The Actuary Jobs and provide a CV writing service.