What is a cover letter?
A cover letter is a document that you should send along with your CV when you apply for a job role. This is your opportunity to convince the employer that you are the right candidate for the position and show that you are interested in the role. You should always include a cover letter with every role you apply for. When applying online, there is usually the option to submit a cover letter with your CV. When emailing a job application, you can type your cover letter directly into the email or attach the document. When posting a job application or handing it to the employer directly, you can simply place your cover letter in the envelope with your CV.
Why do I need a cover letter if all the information is on my CV?
Your cover letter is an introduction to yourself and provides an opportunity to engage with the employer and state your suitability for the position. You can use your cover letter to show that you understand the requirements of the role and detail how your skills specifically match what they are looking for.
Should I use the same cover letter for all my job applications?
You should write a new cover letter for each role you apply for as not every job will be exactly the same. Your cover letter should highlight how your skills match the requirements of the role and showcase how you are the ideal candidate. You cover letter should portray your enthusiasm for the position and your understanding of the job description.
How should I format my cover letter?
Your cover letter should be formal and professional. You should include your own contact information, followed by the contact information of the employer if you have this. Include the date and address the letter (i.e. Dear ‘name of employer’.) When emailing a cover letter, it’s a good idea to include the job title in the subject field so that the recipient knows what role you are applying for. Structure the content in paragraphs and use a simple easy to read font. Conclude your letter and sign your signature by hand if you are sending out a hard copy.
How do I know who to address the letter to?
You will usually be able to find the name of the hiring manager, recruiter or employer on the job description or job advert. There may be times when you don’t know who to address the letter to, such as when applying for a position speculatively or if the details aren’t included on the job spec. In this instance, you can use a general term such as ‘Dear Hiring Manager’. You could also call the company and ask for the details of who to address your application to.
What are employers and recruiters looking for in a cover letter?
Employers are looking for whether your skills and experience match the requirements of the role. They are also looking for enthusiasm and to see that you have read and understood the job description. They may also be interested in your skills, personal qualities and how motivated you are. Employers will also look how well written a letter is so it’s important to make sure there are no spelling mistakes or grammatical errors.
How long should my cover letter be?
A cover letter shouldn’t be more than an A4 page. Ideally between half a page and a full page is about the right length however this is just a guide. Make sure that your letter is clear, concise, straight to the point and covers all the necessary information.
What should I include in my cover letter?
- Your contact details, the contact details the employer (if you have this information) and the date.
- Include the job title of the role you are applying for, where you found the job advert and explain how your skills match the requirements of the role.
- Explain what you can bring to the company and how you are an ideal candidate for the position.
- Highlight your personal qualities and achievements.
- Show enthusiasm and demonstrate your understanding of the company and the role.
- Use ‘Yours sincerely’ to close the letter if you know the name of the employer, use ‘Yours faithfully’ if you don’t have this information.
- Sign the letter by hand if you are printing it out and posting it directly to the employer.
Where can I find cover letter templates?
There are lots of free templates available online to help you write your cover letter. Some of these are listed below.