Covering Letter Hints and Tips

The purpose of a covering letter is very simple, it allows you to give the prospective employer a brief insight into who you are and why you are applying for the job, it also allows you to tell the employer why you think you are the right candidate for the job. This is invaluable information for any employer to have and should help them with the processing of job applications.

Before writing the covering letter it is always worth while researching the employer advertising the position this gives you the opportunity to glean as much information about the employer as possible. Visit the employer’s website and read up on them, do they have a mission statement, about us page, pages containing case studies, testimonials or press releases. Type the employer’s company name into an internet search engine and see what that yields. Remember knowledge is power and it should help to make you stand out from the crowd and get your foot in the door.

Here are a few important points to remember:

  • Always send a covering letter with every job application you make, if you are attaching your CV to an e-mail then the covering letter can be the text in the main body of your e-mail or if you are sending your CV by Royal Mail then include a personalised covering letter printed on the same quality paper as your CV.
  • Always tailor make your covering letter for each application you make, use every opportunity you have to sell yourself specifically to each individual role.
  • Keep it neat, tidy and easy to read with no fussy fonts or colours, stick to the usual letter format and always keep it short and concise.
  • Let the employer know where you saw the position advertised and include any reference numbers where applicable.
  • Let the employer know that you have attached/enclosed your CV and invite them to look at it for further information about you.
  • Highlight key competencies you feel you would bring to the role.
    Tell the employer why it is you are interested in the position and give detail on how this fits in with your next step on the career ladder.
  • If you’re applying for a job in a different industry to the one you are currently working in try and find similarities between the two industries and highlight transferable skills.
  • Through your letter show that you have done some preliminary research on the company, this will show the employer that you haven’t applied for the position on a whim and that you are committed to finding the right role for you.
  • Make them aware that you are available for an interview at any time although you may need some notice to organise time off work from your current employer should they want to interview during working hours.
    Always ensure that you have addressed your letter to the right person, used their correct job title and that you have spelt their name correctly.
  • A covering letter isn’t the place to start talking about salary; this can be discussed at an interview and negotiated (if appropriate) once you have been offered the position.

To download examples of covering letters click here

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