A covering letter is the letter of introduction that should be sent out to employers with your CV and although not as detailed, it is equally important. After spending hours slaving away on your new CV it can be tempting to rush through a covering letter, but that would be a mistake – it is your chance to draw the reader in and encourage them to take a detailed look at your CV.
Even if sent by email a covering letter should have the same amount of care and attention as a normal letter and should be written in a polite, formal and professional way. Remember to address the reader formally, using “Mr/Mrs” if you know their name, and “Sir/Madam” if you don’t. Never use first names or try to be too chatty – it could come across as unprofessional. The covering letter should be kept to one page, so you only have a few paragraphs to sell yourself.
COVERING LETTER TIPS
The job and why you want it
First clearly state that you are interested in applying for the position. Make sure you include the full job title (and reference number if applicable) as some employers will be interviewing for multiple positions.
Use the job description and any supporting material to explain what attracted you to apply for the position and company in question. If the company has a website - use it to research their history and activities – and allude to the fact that you have done this. Overall show enthusiasm for the company and the role.
Why you would be a good candidate
All the detailed information about you and your skills should be included in your CV, so use this section to summarise the reasons why you are capable of (and perfect for!) the role in question, and to elaborate on any key parts of your CV. You could also use this opportunity to explain or justify any areas of your CV that may seem weak.
Wrap it up
In the last section you should make reference to your attached CV. Include any practical details about the best times to contact you and when you are available for interview (without sounding desperate!) and end the letter on a positive note, thank the company for reading, and indicate that you re looking forward to hearing from them. As this is a formal letter use ‘Yours Sincerely’ or ‘Yours Faithfully’ to sign off.