In these days of on-line applications and e-mail, you may think that a cover letter is no longer important. This is NOT the case although it is fair to say that cover letters now come in various formats, of which the traditional letter is only one; it may be an e-mail to which you attach your CV, an e-mail to which you attach a cover letter and a CV or it may be on-line application which offers you the opportunity to write some sort of equivalent to the cover letter in part of the standard form. Treat them all seriously, giving due care and attention to what you say and how you say it.

The cover letter (or equivalent) is important for a number of reasons; it is often the first thing the person at the other end reads; it allows you to “sell” yourself and say why you are applying; it sets the tone for the CV it introduces. As with the CV, there is no such thing as a “one size fits all cover letter”. Here are the most important things to watch out for:

  • Make sure all address /addressee details are accurate and that the date is correct.
  • Write no more than one page and pay attention to layout and eye-appeal.
  • Provide your contact information clearly.
  • Refer in first paragraph to the title of the position you are applying for and if appropriate where you saw the position advertised.
  • Carefully compose a couple of sentences that highlight your core skills and competences, choosing ones that reflect back what you can see in the job description.
  • Write a sentence or two about why this employer / job opportunity is right for you.
  • Ensure that your tone is enthusiastic and positive.
  • State your availability for further contact / interview.
  • Make a polite request for a reply.
  • Thank the reader for their time and interest.

Unsure about your career direction or need support during a period of career transition? This can form the focus of our one-to-one support for job-seekers.