How To Write a Cover Letter
Once you have perfected your CV, it is time to start working on your Cover Letter. Now, this can be just as stressful as writing a CV and you’re probably wondering where to start.
But don’t worry, here are some tips and tricks on how to write a great cover letter, so you can impress your employer!
What is a Cover Letter?
First things first, you might be wondering what a cover letter even is. As the name suggests, it is a ‘covering letter’ to help boost your application when applying for a job with your CV. Your cover letter is a brief introduction of yourself to your employer, and helps ‘sell’ your application. Not every job will require you to send a cover letter, but most will, so unless stated otherwise, make sure you send one with your CV.
How to Write a Cover Letter
Now you know what a Cover Letter is, it’s time to figure out what you need to write about and how you should write it. And again, remember you want to make sure that your entire cover letter is tailored to your employer and the job opening itself.
This is just a guide, so if you would prefer to make your paragraphs more concise, feel free to split these paragraphs up, depending how much you write for each section. The main rule is, you want your cover letter to be clear and easy to read for your employer. Read on to figure out what to include in your cover letter.
Quick Tip For A Great Cover Letter
Before even thinking about putting pen to paper, whatever you write about in your cover letter, always tailor it to the job and company you are applying for. This gives you the greatest chance of getting your application noticed by recruiters and employers, to get your foot in the door.
Paragraph 1 – Introduce Yourself
Start your cover letter with a brief intro. State your credentials, whether you are a current Uni student, or graduate, or at a completely different life stage all together. Mention which role you are applying for, where you saw it advertised and when you think you are available to start.
Paragraph 2 – Do Your Research
Briefly write about why you’re suitable for the job and why you decided to apply. It’s a great way to show your knowledge of the company and that you understand the values they stand for.
As you would for an interview, make sure you do your research about the company and the job role that you are applying for. Compliment the company! This is your chance to show that you know details about the company, the jobs involved, and you’re approaching them for a reason.
Demonstrate appreciation for what the company does. Provide them a little insight into who you are, and why it makes you a perfect fit for the company. It allows you to compliment them as a future employer, and describes your enthusiasm to become part of their team.
Paragraph 3 – Experience & Skills
So, you have shown your enthusiasm for the company, now it’s time to showcase your skills and experience. This section is a perfect chance to tailor what you write about for the role you are applying for. Think about projects you have worked on that would benefit their business, or what you have experience in that makes you a well equipped candidate.
Maybe think twice before including the fact you can dance or play football as a skill in your cover letter (unless you’re applying to do something in this field). Instead, you should be explaining your skills as a team member, or an independent worker. Talk about how you developed knowledge in the area of work through your degree or extra curricular activities.
Although you are tailoring your experience and skills to the company, explain your strengths and skills that will set you apart from other candidates, make you unique from the rest, and how you think you will benefit the company and your future boss.
And don’t be braggy. Stay humble. You don’t want to come across as someone who lacks self-awareness. When in doubt, focus on your experience rather than yourself.
Paragraph 4 – Conclusion
At the end of your cover letter, you will want to conclude things by thanking the employer for considering you for the position, and add enthusiasm for a follow up interview. You can also add a summary sentence to summarise your interest in the role and company you are applying for. You will also want to sound really enthusiastic to show that you want a personal interview.
Quick Tips & Tricks for the Perfect Cover Letter
How Long Should a Cover Letter Be?
You want your cover letter to be a brief introduction to help support your CV, so you don’t need to retell your life story. It should be no more than one side of A4, and it should only be around 3-5 paragraphs – your CV will do most of the talking.
How to Address Your Cover Letter
Always address your cover letter to the person who is hiring. If you cannot find the contact details of the person, you can open the letter with your general address such as: Dear Sir/Madam, Dear Director or Manager of X-Department.
How to Sign Off Your Cover Letter
End your letter as strongly as you started it. Make sure to sign it off with a formal ‘Kind Regards’, or ‘All the Best’ for something slightly more warming. Sign off with your full name, phone number and email address. Although these things will be on your CV, it gives the employer no second thoughts about contacting you if you also have your details here.
Cover Letter Structure
Maintain a clear structure in the letter, so each section can be read clearly and easily. You don’t want to have big chunks of text, so make sure to break it into small readable pieces of text.
Use a Clear Font
Like a CV, you want this to look really professional, so make sure you choose a font that reflects. Times New Roman is a classic to use, with a nice, professional and classic styling for an employer.
It goes without saying, but always make sure to proofread your cover letter. It’s so easy to make mistakes, and the worst thing you can do is submit a cover letter with loads of typos in it. We have all seen that episode of Friends where Rachel did not proofread her resume before she printed loads to send out – you don’t want this happening to you.
Get Help With Your Cover Letter
If you’re struggling to put your CV and covering letter together, why not give a call to your University’s Career’s Department? They will be able to help you figure out where you can improve on your future job applications, and give you good professional advice on how to gear your application up for the working world.
More Advice on Finding a Job
So now you know how to write your Cover Letter. If you’re still unsure about your CV, check out our CV Writing Guide. If you’re wondering how to find a job, and the best places and ways to apply, have a look at our How to Get a Job Guide For Students. When you’re ready, find yourself an interview with our Jobs Finder. And if you’re going for the Highest Paid Jobs around, Click Here to find yours now. Want to reject the idea of a job altogether, there’s loads of other ways you make money during your time at Uni, check out our Make Money Hub for all the ideas!