A covering letter is an integral component to your CV. Without it, it is unlikely your potential employer will give you a second glance. Your covering letter will not only give an overview of your experience, skills and how these are relevant to the desired position, it gives an important insight into your writing skills and a flavour of your personality. This article has been created to highlight the most significant aspects of a covering letter, enabling you to create a supporting letter your potential employers will be enthused by.
Who to address your letter to
It’s advisable to try and obtain the name of the person you’d like to view your CV. By addressing the person by name, you are more likely to be acknowledged and receive an interview. Try looking on the company website to find out who is head of the department under which you’ll be working (whether it’s the IT department, Marketing department or otherwise); a large number of websites include a meet the team feature, and you can quite easily find out who to address your covering letter to.
Once you’ve found their name, include: Dear Mr/Ms (insert last name here.) If their name is nowhere to be seen, a straightforward ‘Dear Sir/Madam’ will suffice.
What kind of information to include
- Pinpoint why you are contacting the company and the types of skills you possess that match the job description closely. Make sure that they’re relevant to the type of role – e.g. if it’s an IT job, make sure to include IT skills. It is important to highlight your best assets and provide a brief overview of the information included in your CV.
- Concisely explain why you think they should hire you and what you could bring to their team. It is notable to relate this to their requirements and provide information that will focus on how you will bring value to their company.
- Include details about your personal aspirations and allow a glimmer of your personality and individuality to shine through.
Clarity, spelling, punctuation and grammar
Ensure your covering letter is well-written and straight to the point. There’s nothing worse than viewing a covering letter that fails to effectively communicate your reason for contact and what you can offer. Not only will it be letting yourself down, it’s likely the person reading it will feel frustrated and assume you lack a basic understanding of written language skills, or you couldn’t be bothered to check your letter through before sending.
Outline your contact details such as address, phone number and email, and explain your preferred method of contact.
Your letter should be no more than a page in length! Exceeding this length could result in your covering letter and CV ending up bin bound. However, limiting yourself to less than half a page may give off the wrong impression from the start, and show a lack of enthusiasm.
How to end
To sign off the letter – thank them for their time and consideration and express how you look forward to their response. For those of you who found the name of the suitable person, finish with ‘Yours sincerely’, for those who did not, complete your letter with ‘Yours faithfully’.
There is no correct way to write a covering letter, and these are just a few pointers to guide you in the right direction. Take heed of the hints listed above and you’ll be on your way to writing covering letters that grab the attention of your desired employers.
Covering letter examples
In this article we’ve covered the most important aspects of what should be included in your cover letter. However if you’d like to see some examples then here are some great resources for you to take a look at:
Thanks for reading and good luck!
Karly Edwards is a freelance copywriter writing for Computer Recruiter, an IT recruitment agency based in Cardiff, South Wales: http://www.computerrecruiter.co.uk