What to Include In Your Covering Letter…
A cover letter is a tool you can use to show an employee why you are applying for a particular role in their company and why they should hire you. Therefore you need to use it to its full potential and include as much as you can in such a short space – on one side of A4 – usually no more than four or five short paragraphs and tailor it to the specific role and/or company you are applying to.
1: Contact Information
Never forget your contact details – it’s amazing how often CVs are sent without any contact detail on such as contact numbers, areas of residence or email addresses. In order to ensure that you do not forget to supply these details, it is best to include them on your covering letter as well as in your CV. These details should include:
- Your Name
- Your Address
- Your City and Post Code
- Your Telephone Number (Home and Mobile preferably)
- Your Email Address
2. Correct salutation
If you know the name of the hiring manager, recruiter, etc. try and include their name. It shows the reader that you are applying for a specific job and doesn’t just look like you have sent your CV to lots of different companies without a second thought. It can be so quick and easy to change this section but it can have a positive impact on your application. It can also increase the chance of your application getting to the right person instead of getting lost within the HR department.
3. Paragraph 1: Explain Why You’re Writing
Let the reader know why you’re writing to him/her as this can allow for the reader to adjust the way your CV is read and read it in relation to the specific role you are applying to. Include the role you have seen, include a reference number or full job title where possible, or if you are applying to a company rather than a role ensure to include what type of role you’re looking for and why. Cover letters are usually skim read by employers, so ensure to include a short summary about what you know about the company and how keen you are to get the job and/or to work for that specific company. It’s also good to inform the employer of when you are able to start in a new position.
4. Paragraph 2: What You Have To Offer
This section is where you need to sell yourself. State your qualifications/experience that is relevant to the role. Explain why you would be right for that role and why you would be a good fit to the company and briefly state relevant skills to the role and why you are attracted to the company.
5. Paragraph 3: Closing Paragraph
Use this paragraph as a chance to pull your CV together and leave the employer with a positive impression of you and make it clear what you would like to happen next – include potential interview dates that you are available for and how you would like to be contacted. Include the fact that you look forward to hearing from them.
6. Signing Off
If you were able to write the letter to the relevant person e.g. Mr Smith, then remember to sign the letter with ‘Yours Sincerely’, if you weren’t able to and have written to ‘Sir or Madam’, your letter should end with ‘Yours Faithfully’.
7. Top Tips
- If you’re emailing your CV, put your covering letter in the body of the email, not as another attachment. Your letter could go unread, or the email could go to junk mail if it has no content.
- Remember to make it personal. Don’t send out identical letters to all employers.
- Consider including reasons for gaps in your CV if you haven’t put this in your CV (which you are recommended to do!)
- Write in a professional manner and keep it clear.
- Check and check again for spelling mistakes and grammatical errors.
- Keep it brief, no longer than one side of A4 overall.
- Get to the point, only state relevant information rather than just including information because you can!