A covering letter is a short document which introduces you, and your CV, to prospective employers. Covering letters are not used exclusively to apply for jobs - they can also be used enquire about work placements, project opportunities or the availability of work.
A cover letter can sometimes be your first communication with an employer so it's important to make a good impression. It should briefly demonstrate that you are suitable for the position and organisation, and make the employer want to find out more about you in your CV.
What To Include In Your Covering Letter
Usually, you should include the title of the job that you're applying for, where you saw it advertised and any reference details that are stated in the job advert. This helps recruitment or HR departments get your application in front of the right person without having to go into your CV and figure it out.
You'll also need to cover why you're applying for the role, and why you're applying to this particular company. Make sure you've done some research, the recruiters are investing time in you so it makes sense you've invested some time in them.
If you are applying speculatively, make sure you include some detail about the types of roles you're interested in.
Our handy Cover Letter Template tool can guide you through the format and content of a typical covering letter if you're not sure where to start.
- Your covering letter should be a couple of paragraphs, a balance of text and whitespace
- It should be properly formatted as a letter with the addresses in the correct place
- If possible try and get the name of someone involved in the recruitment process so you can send the letter directly to the most appropriate person
- If you have a contact name then the letter should end the letter with ‘yours sincerely’
- If you don't have a name, address the letter using Dear Sir/Madam and end the letter with ‘yours faithfully’
- Covering letters should be typed - not hand written - unless otherwise stated
- Don't repeat what is on your CV; just highlight the most relevant points
- Spellcheck the letter and get someone to proof read it for you, our Advisers can help in person or via email
- Write the letter using positive language to highlight your strengths, abilities and enthusiasm
- Make it clear why you are applying to this company and that you have thoroughly researched them to show that you have taken an interest in them