Cover letter

Write a cover letter

The cover letter is the first thing the recruiter sees. It's what introduces you and your CV. Although there's no such thing as the perfect letter, following a basic formula will help you on your way and make your cover letter a worthy build-up to your CV. Download a free cover letter example.

Cover letter -

Don't send your resume without a cover letter, it is after all the introduction to your CV.

Tips for writing a cover letter

When writing a cover letter, the key to making an impact is to customise it as much as possible to the job for which you are applying. Regular recruiters such as personnel managers and recruitment consultants, can spot 'standard letters' a mile off.

Do pick out specific traits or skills mentioned in the job advert and demonstrate why you think you are suitable. Don't include negative information such as personality conflicts with previous employers, details of tribunals or adverse comments on your current employer.

Four key stages

First paragraph
Explain why you are writing; make sure it entices them to read on – if you're replying to an advert, say where and when you saw the advert and if there is a reference number, quote it.
Second paragraph
Briefly explain your job and qualifications (professional and/or academic) – don't give too much away or they may not want to go on and read your cv; if you are replying to an advert, make sure the skills you specified are reflected in your CV
Third paragraph
Say why they should employ you and why you would be a good employee; tell the company a little about themselves (eg 'As the largest mastic asphalt spreading company in the south?') – to demonstrate you know something about the company too; find out more about them before you apply.
Fourth paragraph

Lay down an 'action plan' - say you would like the opportunity to meet them for an interview and you'll await their response or that you will make a call in a few days to see if this is appropriate (you don't have to leave the ball in their court, although be wary of seeming to 'pester' - and if you do say you are going to call, then make sure you do).

Obvious tips, but yet not to be forgotten

  • Do make sure your letter is addressed to the right person at the right address; spell everything correctly.
  • Try to find out who the right person is – either a department manager or HR manager – and address it to them.
  • Do make sure you put all your contact details on the cover letter, including address, phone numbers, email address.
  • Don't use long words simply to impress.
  • Don't send your letter without checking the main body of the text for spelling mistakes, typos, strange grammar, bad punctuation, coffee cup rings or smudged ink – make sure your cover letter is perfect.

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