For some positions, a covering letter may be requested alongside your CV in order to support your application. A covering letter simply builds upon the information in your CV, and it’s a more focused ‘sales pitch’ on why you’re right for the job and why the employer should employ you. Before sitting down to write your letter, try and do some extra research on the role by either looking at the specification which outlines what the role entails or via the internet, which may provide information on what personal qualities and experience an employer would expect an applicant to have. Try the National Careers Service website for advice on this as lists specific roles and outlines the person specification for each.
Include your address at the top right-hand corner, miss a line and then put the date. The recipients address goes on the left-hand side after the date. Use appropriate margin and paragraph spacing so it is balanced and clear.
Addressing your letter
Ensure you address your covering letter to the correct person, or branch, which has been outlined on the job advertisement. If you know the name of the person to whom you are writing to, start the letter with ‘Dear Mr Smith’. If you are unsure of the marital status of female recipient, put ‘Dear Ms Smith’. ‘Dear Sir/Madam’ should be used if you are unaware of the name of the recipient.
Covering letters can sometimes be skimmed very quickly dependant on the reader, so it’s important the opening paragraph should be short and hard-hitting. Start with a striking sentence which explains why you are writing to us and where you saw the ad, for example, ‘I would like to be considered for the position of Operations Manager in response to the advertisement on your website’, or if someone has referred you, mention your friend’s referral here e.g. ‘I was pleased to hear from Shaun Smith that you will soon have a vacancy for a Marketing Assistant. I am very interested in this position, and I think that with my skills I could be an asset to the company.’
Follow on from briefly describing your professional and academic qualifications that are relevant to the position. If you have access to the job advertisement, refer to all of the required skills listed. Outline what you can bring to the company, and talk about relevant career goals. Indicate your desire for a personal interview, finish your letter with ‘Yours sincerely’ and don’t forget to sign it personally once it has been printed. If you’re sending the letter electronically, place your name at the bottom and attach the letter to e-mail in the original electronic format (not a photograph of the print version).