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Cover Letter Editing

How to write a Cover Letter

An essential part of any job application, a cover letter needs to be attention grabbing and concise. Take a look at our examples for inspiration and discover how to write a winning cover letter

What is a cover letter?

A cover letter is a document sent alongside your CV when applying for jobs. It acts as a personal introduction and helps to sell your application. A cover letter is necessary as it gives you the chance to explain to an employer why you’re the best candidate for the job. You do this by highlighting relevant skills and experience; therefore you should always write your cover letter with the position you’re applying for in mind.

Not to be confused with personal statements for your CV, cover letters should complement your CV but not duplicate it. The general consensus among recruiters when it comes to the length of these documents is the shorter the better. Typically three to five short paragraphs, cover letters should not exceed one A4 page.

If sending electronically, put the text in the body of the email rather than as an attachment, to avoid it being detected by spam filters.

Applications should always include a cover letter unless the job advert instructs you differently.

How to write a cover letter

Keep your cover letter brief, while making sure it emphasises your suitability for the job. It can be broken down into the following sections:

  • First paragraph – The opening statement should set out why you’re writing the letter. Begin by stating the position you’re applying for, where you saw it advertised and when you are available to start.
  • Second paragraph – Cover why you’re suitable for the job, what attracted you to this type of work, why you’re interested in working for the company and what you can offer the organisation.
  • Third paragraph – Highlight relevant experience and demonstrate how your skills match the specific requirements of the job description. Summarise any additional strengths and explain how these could benefit the company.
  • Last paragraph – Use the closing paragraph to round up your letter. Reiterate your interest in the role and indicate your desire for a personal interview. Now is the time to mention any unavailable dates. Finish by thanking the employer and say how you are looking forward to receiving a response.

Once finished read through the document and cut out any unnecessary words and sentences. Don’t fill up space by repeating what’s already covered in your CV.

Example cover letters

5 tips for the perfect cover letter

With employers often receiving lots of applications for each vacancy, you need to ensure that your cover letter makes a lasting impression for the right reasons. Here are some tips to increase your chances of success:

  1. Tailor to the organisation – You should rewrite your cover letter every time you apply for a position in order to target the company. Sending out a generic letter for all applications rarely yields positive results and recruiters can spot your lack of time and effort from a mile away.
  2. Proofread – Never rely on a computer spellcheck program to pick up every mistake. Print off your cover letter and double-check for spelling and grammar errors before passing it to a family member or friend to look over. Also make sure that your own contact details and the company name are correct.
  3. Format – Presentation is important so you’ll need to format your cover letter properly. Make sure the document is as uncluttered as possible, use the same font and size as you use in your CV and if you’re sending it through the post or handing it in use good quality plain white paper to print it on.
  4. Identify your USPs – They’re your unique selling points. Be positive about what you have to offer and clearly outline how your skills and experience meet those requested in the job description. Demonstrate why you’re the perfect candidate.
  5. Include examples – Back up the claims in your cover letter with real evidence or examples that show how and when you’ve used your skills and experience.

If you’re a student or recent graduate you can make an appointment with your university’s careers and employability service to access further help when writing your cover letter. You’ll be able to talk with specially-trained advisers, get advice on what to include and have a professional eye look over your application before sending.

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enquiries@lazarutowa.com