Writing a Covering Letter
When making an application, CV’s should always be accompanied by a covering letter. The covering letter can be a major determinant of success, by generating interest and enticing the employer to read on. It also allows you to show more of your enthusiasm for the role than would be possible with a CV alone.
The following guidelines should ensure that you maximise its potential.
- Before writing the covering letter, make sure you have researched the company and have fully read the job description for the position.
- Keep your covering letter short. One side of A4 and 3/4 paragraphs at most.
- Use clear and business like language and sound positive and enthusiastic.
- Use the same style and size of text as used in your CV.
- Always include your contact details in case it gets separated from your CV.
- Make it personalised by addressing it to the person due to receive it. Telephone for the name if necessary.
- Introduce yourself and explain what position you are applying for and where you saw it advertised (give a reference no if supplied in the advert). If a speculative approach, indicate what type of position you would be interested in. Make sure that you mention the fact that you have attached a copy of your CV, just in case it goes missing.
- Explain why you are interested in the position and demonstrate your understanding of it, explaining why you believe that your skills / experience / training are a good match for the requirements. Try to indicate background information regarding the company in order to demonstrate interest – this is where the earlier research is useful.
- If the job is in a different industry sector to those you have previously worked in, draw links between the two and highlight transferable skills.
- Show consistency between the case you make for yourself in the letter and on the CV.
- Do not expect employers to have the time to read between the lines. Spell it out for them.
- Do not make claims that you cannot substantiate.
- Thank the employer for their time in considering your application. Provide details of your notice period if you are currently employed and indicate interview availability should they be interested in progressing your application. It is a good idea to provide two methods (email and phone) of contacting you should this be the case. General
- The covering letter should flow and be grammatically correct with no spelling mistakes. Use spellcheck and then read and re-read. If possible ask a family member to also check it.
- If you are printing the covering letter, make sure you use good quality white paper (minimum 100gsm).
- All employers have different requirements, so make sure that you write a new covering letter for each position you are applying to. Don’t just use a standard format.
- Keep copies of all CV’s and covering letters you send out. Be prepared to follow up an application after a reasonable time if you have not received a reply – there is nothing to lose and it shows initiative.
- Make sure you re-read the covering letter and CV before any interview.
If you require any further guidance on writing a covering letter, please do not hesitate to contact us.