Writing A Covering Letter

Writing A Covering Letter

Writing a covering letter

In the days when most job applications were made by post, it was usual to send a ‘covering letter’ to the recruiter, in addition to your CV.

Now that almost all applications are made online, does the covering letter still have its place?

Writing a supporting letter to accompany your CV can still boost your chances of securing an interview. Whilst your CV should still demonstrate that you have the skills, experience and qualifications for the role in question, a covering letter provides another opportunity for you to highlight which of your skills and experience are most relevant, and what makes you the ideal person for the job. Assuming that you take care with spelling and grammar, the covering letter is also an ideal opportunity to demonstrate your written communication skills.

If you are applying for a role by email, you can use the body of your email as the covering letter, whilst submitting your CV as an attachment. If you are applying via a website, the site will usually have a text box on the application page where you can type or paste your covering letter; or the site may allow you to attach the covering letter as a separate document alongside your CV.

So, what should be in a covering letter:

  • START WITH A SALUTATION, E.G. ‘DEAR MR/MS JONES’. NEVER USE THE PERSON’S FIRST NAME. IF THERE IS NO INDICATION OF WHO TO ADDRESS THE APPLICATION TO, USE ‘DEAR SIR/MADAM’
  • EXPLAIN WHY YOU ARE WRITING, THIS COULD BE ON THE LINES OF ‘I WOULD LIKE TO EXPRESS MY INTEREST IN YOUR [JOB TITLE] ROLE ADVERTISED ON [WHERE YOU SAW THE ADVERT]’
  • SAY WHY YOU ARE INTERESTED IN THE ROLE AND THE COMPANY
  • EXPLAIN HOW YOUR QUALIFICATIONS, SKILLS AND EXPERIENCE MEET THE MAIN REQUIREMENTS OF THE ROLE
  • GIVE DETAILS OF PAST ACHIEVEMENTS THAT ARE LIKELY TO IMPRESS THE RECRUITER
  • GIVE DETAILS OF ANY ‘UNIQUE SELLING POINTS’ YOU POSSESS – WHY ARE YOU AN IDEAL FIT FOR THE ROLE?
  • SAY YOU LOOK FORWARD TO HEARING FROM THE COMPANY
  • SIGN OFF WITH ‘YOURS SINCERELY’ IF YOU USED A NAME IN THE SALUTATION, OR WITH ‘YOURS FAITHFULLY’ IF YOU USED THE GENERIC ‘DEAR SIR/MADAM’

Covering letters should ideally be no longer than one A4 page.

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