Help with your cover letter

In the days when you would have applied for a job by post, your cover letter would have been your first chance to `wow¿ the employer. Nowadays it¿s much more common to apply for jobs online or by email, but the cover letter is still just as important.

Whether your cover letter is hand written or electronic, it`ll be the first thing an employer reads. This means it¿s a good idea to write something short and snappy that makes your reader want to take a look at your CV or application form.

If you're applying to a number of similar positions, then it¿s tempting to keep using the same cover letter. However, it¿s best to change your letter slightly for each position. Don¿t forget to update the company, job, and contact information ¿ if Mr. Smith is addressed as Mrs. Jones then your application form could end up in the bin!

Most importantly, you should always include your contact details. You might already have this information on your CV, but there's no harm doubling up.

We¿ve also created an example cover letter to give you some extra help and guidance if you need it. Just download this word document (144KB).

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Dear [If you know the name of your reader, always refer to them as `Mr. Smith¿ rather than by their first name.]

It¿s a good idea to add the job title here, in bold.

The very first sentence of your cover letter should clearly state that you want to apply for the job you¿ve referred to above. Often, companies have more than one vacancy, so it¿s a good idea to refer to which job you¿re applying for and include any reference numbers to make it easier for them.

You should then talk about your ability to do the job successfully and cover any relevant skills you have. You¿ll want to appear confident and sure of yourself, but not arrogant. It¿s also important to remember the main bulk of your experience and abilities should be in your CV, a cover letter needs to be short and sweet.

It¿s a good idea to pick the main responsibility of the job role that the employers are looking for, and give an example of why you¿d be the right person to do it. You should use any previous experience or skills you have, to back up what you¿re saying.

Finally, always watch the length of your cover letter. Often, two paragraphs is long enough but you can stretch it to one or two more if they¿re very short. As a finishing sentence, it¿s a good idea to include a `next step¿ for your reader. An example of this could be ¿To find out more about how my skills and experiences could benefit your company, please see my attached CV.¿

Thanks for your time,

Yours sincerely/ faithfully [If you know the name of the person you¿re applying to, use `sincerely¿, if not put `faithfully¿]

Your name here.

View the PDF file here: cover-letter.pdf

Now you've done your cover letter make sure your cv is up to scratch. Use our template to get you started.

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Thanks for your help,
The learndirect team