At first glance, researching a company before you write your cover letter might seem like a waste of time. You can just copy and paste your cover letter each time, right?
Sorry to break the news, but if you use the same cover letter for each job application and always get rejected, that’s probably why. Don’t worry though. Very few of us are actually taught how to write a cover letter, let alone how to research for one.
We’ll chat you through why researching matters, how it can help you stand out, what you should be researching and how to include it in your cover letter. Let’s start.
Why Do I Need To Research A Company For My Cover Letter?
To begin with, researching a company for any part of a job application isn’t only a good way to ensure you’re a good fit for them. It’s also also that the company would be a good fit for you. You’ll get to know not only the company but the people within it a lot better through the research process, so pay attention to see if you think it’s a good match.
Secondly, it shows you actually care. Every company wants to hear how great they are, and if you believe you’re the perfect fit, your genuine enthusiasm will show through your research and writing. This can put you head and shoulders above the rest on its own and really make you stand out from everyone else who’s just applied for the sake of it. And 63% of HR pros say that the cover letter is key to explaining your motivations for joining the company. Just in case you need any more encouragement.
Finally, in order to write a good cover letter, you need to answer these 4 questions, which require research in themselves.
How Do I Research A Company?
There’s 3 areas you’ll need to research before you start your cover letter:
The company, the role and the industry.
These areas will give you all the information you need to craft an effective cover letter as you can match their values to your own, know which work experience to mention and show commercial awareness (and enthusiasm!)
The company: What they do, their history, their goals, their mission, their values
The role: What tasks you’ll be doing, what skills they require, what personal traits they’re looking for
The industry: Latest updates, news and the implications for the company and industry
You can conduct your research using the company’s website (obviously), their social media platforms, press releases and articles about them, industry news sites and LinkedIn (company and employee pages) to begin with.
Gather all the information into a document as you go. Then, use this to write up your cover letter, making sure you hit all 3 areas.
How Do I Include My Research?
Once you’ve conducted your research, the next step is to actually include it within your cover letter. You’ll need to demonstrate your research by putting a case forward for your suitability for the company and the role. Do this by discussing their values and why they resonate with you and linking your experience to the job description.
For more information on how to do this, read our blog post on how to write a cover letter.
Want to chat through your cover letter strategy with someone? Book a 1-1 cover letter review and strategy session with a member of The Grad Soc team today and get ready to smash that graduate job application.