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24 April 2017 · by Laura Smith Writing a Cover Letter - plus template

Typically an employer or a recruiter will spend just 20-30 seconds reading through your job application. Writing a cover letter is your opportunity to demonstrate that you are a strong contender for the role with the relevant skills, and the employer should carry on reading more about you. A good CV alone won’t help secure you an interview!

Unless specifically stated, a cover letter should always accompany your CV. Customise your cover letter for every role, referring to the job specification for skills you should highlight. Split your cover letter into five sections to help break it down, totalling no more than one side of A4.

So let's get started...

  1. Who is it for? This section is where the employer will make their first impression of you so make sure it’s a good one! Most job adverts will state who your application should be addressed to but if it doesn’t do some research to find out who will likely be reading through your application (this is often HR or a recruitment consultant). If you are still in the dark, writing ‘Dear Sir/Madam’ is fine.
  2. What is the purpose of the letter? State clearly the job you would like to apply for and where you found the vacancy. If it is a speculative application state which roles would be of interest to you.
  3. What makes you a great applicant? This is your opportunity to boast about your great experience and skills, or how eager you are to start your new career. Refer to the job specification so you can provide relevant examples of where you have excelled in the past. Also mention if you have worked in the industry before or if it is an area you would be interested in progressing in, what skills you feel you could bring to the table.
  4. Prove you have done your research. What was it about the company and the role that appealed to you? Reiterate your interest and emphasise why you are the best candidate.
  5. Close off the cover letter. Finish up your cover letter by thanking the employer for their time and for considering your application, and end with standard formalities (yours sincerely/faithfully).

And don't forget...

Employers are assessing your ability to write fluidly and spell correctly. Triple check your cover letter before sending it out to ensure it is grammatically sound, free from mistakes and addressed to the correct person for the right role and company. These mistakes can cost you your application so make sure they are accurate!

If emailing your application, paste your cover letter into the body of the email, attach your CV and write the job reference in the subject line. If printing your application, place your cover letter before your CV ensuring your formatting is consistent throughout both documents.

Download our Cover Letter Template here.

 

Need help with your CV? Check out our CV writing tips and template here!

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