How To Write A Cover Letter
If you already know the ins and outs of the cover letter and you are here to get one of your own then go straight to the CV Examples section of out site.
The primary aim of the cover letter is simply to introduce your CV. It is also an opportunity to speak directly to a potential employer.
Central to this is:
Where you saw the vacancy
Why you are suited to the job
How your experience meets the employer’s needs
In a large organisation there may be many vacancies available at any one time across a variety of departments; the covering letter serves to highlight what you are applying for.
In summary, the cover letter:
- Outlines the Where
- Outlines the Why
- Outlines the How
- Introduces the CV
- Highlights the position you are applying for
- Speaks directly to the employer
- Underlines significant areas of your CV
The cover letter should not repeat elements of the CV; this would just alienate potential employers. Just as with the CV, your covering letter needs to be original and eye-catching, avoiding all of the usual clichés that dog the modern cover letter. Sure, it’s fine to say, “Please find enclosed…” But ask yourself, as you should always ask yourself:
Can I do better?
Email Cover Letter
For the most part, these days, you are more likely to be sending an email cover letter than a standard cover letter. You may copy and paste from the cover letter examples on this page, if you wish. (If you are unsure of how to copy and paste or how to attach your CV to the email read the Tech Section on how to attach your CV to an email.)
Generally speaking, email is less stuffy and formal than standard written communication. Although you always want to shine when having contact with an employer, the simple rule of thumb is to keep things simple – copy and paste the example on this page into your email and change the details to match the job that you’re applying for.
Talk the Talk
Take a good look through the advertisements and job descriptions. Even with some experience of the job it is astonishing how easily people forget to talk the language of their profession. Reacquaint yourself with the jargon and use it on your cover letter and CV. A potential employer needs to see this truth about you and it should leap off the page.
Write the cover letter with the job ad in front of you – this will ensure that you tell the employer that you’re exactly what they are looking for.
Cover Letter Example:
Please find attached my CV for the position of operative that I have seen advertised on the jobfox.co.uk website.
As you will see from my CV I have over two years experience in this area and I feel I am well suited to the position.
I look forward to hearing from you.
This is the simplest cover letter you could get and, frankly, it doesn’t go far enough. That said, this cover letter still retains the principals we should expect: it does not repeat any elements of the CV itself and it underlines an important point: experience in the area.
Notice that we have used the simple sign-off: Regards. This has not only allowed us to dismiss worries about the stuffy ‘sincerely/faithfully’ sign-off but also we have used something less formal but nonetheless professional. If you need any further advice about how a letter is set out and some guidelines about signing off, explore the Ask Oxford Dictionary website where you will find useful templates and guidelines for all sorts of letter-writing occasions.
Another Cover Letter Example:
Dear Ms Khan,
I was excited to see your advertisement for Library Assistant on the jobfox.co.uk website; this is a role that I feel suits my outlook and my experience.
As you will see from the work history contained in my CV, I have a great deal of experience working in public services and I would like an opportunity to broaden my career in this area. I am a flexible worker and I am open to temporary as well as permanent positions.
I would be happy to come in for interview, at your convenience.
I look forward to hearing from you.
We haven’t opened the letter with the tired “Please find enclosed my CV…” because employers see this everyday and we want you to stand out from the crowd. The language, too, is simple but varied. This is precisely what employers are scouting for.
Every cover letter you produce needs to be unique because it will be driven by the needs of the employer.
Remember the cover letter needs to be appropriate for each occasion.