Why you should use a cover letter to sell your skills and tell your story
You might be wondering if it's worth creating a cover letter and sending it with your CV in response to job ad's. It absolutely is.
This is your space to tell them why you want to work for them specifically as well as why they should hire you.
It's also great if you want to make a sideways move, take what could be seen as a backwards step or if you want to retrain in a new industry as it lets you explain why.
Employers like to be sure that you are going to stay with them and are particularly risk averse right now so this lets you tell them a bit more of a story around why you want the role and let them be as sure as possible that you are in it for the long haul.
So, for example you may want to move from retail into the property sector due to Covid. You are currently a retail manager but have had a redundancy package and have always wanted to work in property. You can explain in your cover letter than you are happy to take a more junior role in order to get started in an industry with greater longevity and stability.
Or maybe you are an HR Manager and have decided that you want to take a part time HR assistant role as you are nursing an elderly parent. You can use the letter to explain that your circumstances have changed and you are now seeking a role with less responsibility which utilises your knowledge and skills.
In any case, I'd avoid mentioning work/life balance or fitting around your family explicitly as employers really want to know that you will give their role 100% right now and you don't want anything to jeopardise this at this early stage. (I'm not saying this is right, just that it may well help right now!)
Whatever you need to tell them, remember these two key things: paragraph one should be about THEM and why you want to work there specifically and paragraph 2 should be about YOU and what you can offer that meets their job spec with examples.
So, for instance lets say it is a well known family carpet business that you would like to work for, and they have a payroll administrator role available. You could say that you have been a customer/have heard great things about them/really enjoy working for family businesses and then tell them in the next paragraph that yes you have SAGE experience, are used to running payroll for 300 staff and dealing with any absence, sickness, change of role and leavers paperwork as they have specified as you have done this in your current role.
Don't be scared to get a bit personal. If it's a product that you have used or wish had been available when you could have used it, tell them. Everyone likes a bit of flattery.
I hope this helps and if you need help drop me a line at firstname.lastname@example.org