No more than one page long, your cover letter should outline why you are the right person for the position. Rather than simply listing your CV merits, try to make connections between what the company asks for in the job listing and your own skills and experience. This is your chance to show the employer why you are the best person for the job.
The primary purpose of your job application is to make the employer want to meet you for a job interview. A cover letter is often just as important as a CV in Denmark when you apply for a job. It is important to write a cover letter specifically tailored for each position you apply for. This video shortly explains how to write a good cover letter that catches the attention of Danish employers.
How to write a cover letter
What do Danish Recruiters expect, when reading your application?
Recruiters look for the perfect match to their vacant job. It is your task to make sure that the recruiter understands how you match the requirements. We have gathered a few essential points from recruiters and hiring managers in Denmark that we will share with you.
How to identify and respond to keywords in a job advertisement
The responsibilities and requirements or qualifications sections are usually the core of the job ad. Recruiters spend time identifying the main qualifications needed. They map out existing skills in the team to find out if one or more skills are lacking. A new employee could very likely bring missing skills to the company or the team. Therefore, recruiters spend time making sure that the job ad reveals what to expect from the job. The company wants to attract the right person with the right skills, - someone who will be happy in the job and hopefully stay in the company for a longer period of time.
Recruiters communicate this to you by use of keywords in the job ad. Now it is your job to help the recruiter understand that you have the right qualifications, by doing the following:
- Identify the key requirements – the necessary skills – and respond to them carefully.
You might want to list the requirements into two groups: hard and soft skills.
Hard skills are teachable and measurable abilities that are easy to quantify such as your degree or certificate, machine operating or the ability to use computer programs. In Denmark, recruiters expect you to start with mentioning the hard skills. E.g. if you are an engineer, you will want to mention that as soon as possible.
After you have mentioned the hard skills, you can focus on the soft skills.
Soft skills are subjective skills that are hard to quantify. They are also known as people skills or interpersonal skills. Soft skills are the traits that mark who you are as a colleague or employee such as communication skills, team work ability or your role as a team leader.
Please note: in your cover letter, recruiters expect you to not just mention the skills. Instead, you are meant to demonstrate that you possess a skill by sharing examples of when you used it.
It is OK if you do not meet all of the qualifications listed in the job ad. If you meet just some of the qualifications, you can still apply for the job, provided that you can convince the reader that you match these completely. Ideally, you should demonstrate this by using specific examples from your previous work experience.
It will be worth your while to mention and identify comparable or transferable skills or experiences. For example, if the job requires R programming skills, you can state that you are proficient in Python and by knowing this you will quickly be able to learn.
- Remember to include your motivation in your cover letter. Generally speaking, Danish employers believe that if you like your job and if you feel happy when at work, you will perform better. Try to think about these questions:
• Why are you applying for this specific job? If you can state that you really like working with certain tasks, please do so.
• Why do you think you are a good match to the job?
• Why do you want to work for this particular company?
Remember: Do not focus on what you can gain from being hired, but what the company can gain from hiring you.
Try to put yourself in the shoes of the recruiter. Do you match the key elements of the job? Is it easy for the recruiter to see how you match the requirements? Have you explained your motivation for applying for the job? If you can answer yes to these three questions, you are well on your way.
Here are six guidelines on how to make your cover letter stand out from the crowd
- Explain what you have to offer: See things from the employer’s perspective. Focus on what you can offer. Let them know your competences, also the soft competences that are relevant for the job, and especially the ones, which may be more special in Denmark than in your home country (e.g. your language skills). Besides your professional competences, such as technical or economic skills, be sure to include your social competences, such as negotiation or teaching skills, and last but not least your personal competences which round up your profile. In Denmark, it is essential to show a complete picture of yourself: an employer will be interested not only in your diplomas, but also in your personality and your interests. In short: what drives and motivates you.
- Address the criteria in the job ad: Describe how you fulfil the criteria specified in the ad. Be specific when you translate your experiences and personal qualities to match the job criteria. If in doubt – simply answer the key words from the job ad.
- Include your motivation: Tell the employer why you are interested in the job, and be precise in explaining your motivation for wanting this job. Most employers believe that if you really like your job, you will perform better which benefits the company.
- Find a suitable style: Write your application in a style that matches the type of company you are addressing. For instance, your style will be more informal and creative when applying for a job at an advertising agency than a financial institution.
- Write with clarity and precision: Avoid long and complex sentences. Use shorter paragraphs and break up your application in sections. An application should be no longer than one A4 page
- Avoid mistakes: Always check your application for language errors – particularly if you are not writing in your mother tongue. If possible, get another person to proofread your application carefully. Mistakes suggest sloppiness and no employer responds positively to that.