How to write a good cover letter

General

  • Always tailor your covering letter to the specific role.
  • Show you have researched the role, the organisation and the industry.
  • Outline why you are attracted to the specific opportunity.
  • Highlight your unique selling points.
  • When applying by email, add the letter as an attachment.

Style

  • Use one page of A4 paper and four or five paragraphs.
  • Address your letter to a named person.
  • Include your contact details and the employer’s (including their title).
  • Make sure your grammar and spelling are perfect.
  • Use a professional tone.
  • Link your writing style to the industry, e.g. covering letters for a job as a waitress will be less formal than those for an internship at a bank

Content – a suggested structure

  • Paragraph 1: a positive, formal introduction outlining how you heard about the opportunity
  • Paragraph 2: outline why you are interested in the role and the organisation
  • demonstrate research
  • say how the opportunity fits into your career plans
  • Paragraph 3 and 4:  highlight your key skills and experiences and why these make you a suitable candidate
  • Paragraph 5: end positively and confirm that you will be available for interview

10 common mistakes in covering letters:

  1. Not sending one!
  2. Dwelling on negatives
  3. No named individual
  4. Poor spelling or grammar
  5. Irrelevant information
  6. Overwritten
  7. Badly presented
  8. Too long
  9. Difficult to read
  10. Inappropriate style
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