How To: Write a Covering Letter

A covering letter is quite often the first impression an employer has of you, so it is crucial that you make it as interesting and applicable to yourself, enabling you to stand out from the crowds.

Remember not to repeat your CV, rather, focus on specific points that match you to the job specification. Ultimately, based on the recruiter’s first opinion on you and your persuasion skills, will depend on whether the recruiter wants to invite you for an interview. Therefore, the covering letter needs to highlight your strengths and abilities concisely.

Although timely, writing a covering letter can be the difference between being invited for interview, and simply being ignored. I know I’d rather invest a few more minutes of my time in writing a covering letter to stand me in good stead, so to start with, here is a checklist for you to make sure your covering letter is as strong as possible, making you as employable as possible!

Before writing your covering letter, familiarise yourself with:

  • The company
  • Competitors
  • Target audience
  • The role and skills required

 

Quick top tips:

  • Use an easy-to-read font (the font should be the same as your CV, keeping it consistent)
  • Add a space between the header, salutation, and each paragraph making the covering letter easy to read
  • Keep it concise! A long covering letter risks being boring and deterring the recruiter.
  • Aim for half a side of A4 (a very short covering letter runs the risk of not covering everything in enough detail).
  • Proof read the covering letter at the end… mistakes are often very easy to miss, yet very easy to edit, creating a clean covering letter

 

The all-important format:

Salutation – Find out who you are addressing the letter to. Use ‘Dr/Mr/Mrs/Ms’. If it’s not obvious on the website then don’t hesitate to call the company and ask. It will show your initiative and confidence.

1st paragraph – Ensure it is obvious which job you are applying for by stating the job title that they have used to advertise with. Introduce yourself, explain where you saw the job advertised and why you want to apply, and advise that your CV is included. Supply a quick overview of your skills, giving an idea of what is to come later in the letter. This is the first paragraph to be read so make sure you engage your recipient quickly!

2nd paragraph – Explain why the employer should hire you. Describe your academic qualifications and state what you could offer the company and why you think you would excel in the role. Remember to include specific examples, emphasising your abilities. It is important that you avoid regurgitating your CV.

Final paragraph – Highlight and conclude your specific skills and reinstate how these are applicable to the job role available. You can also explain why you would like to work for the company, showing that you have done your research into the company. Finally, mention that you would relish the opportunity for an interview or further discussion and thank the employer for his/her consideration in your application.

Signature – Complete the letter with a complimentary close and handwrite your signature, followed by your name (typed).

 

So, there you have our top tips regarding how to write the best covering letter, thus putting you in the best possible position to be invited for an interview.

Best of luck!

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