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Effective Cover Letters

Cover letters can make or break your application

Open doors with an engaging covering letter
Open doors with an engaging
covering letter

The cover letter is an essential part of the application process and many employers consider it to be as important as the CV or application form. It is a way of introducing yourself to the recruiter and generating interest in the skills and experiences you have to offer them. It also allows you to show a little more of your personality and enthusiasm for the role than would otherwise be possible in a standalone CV.

A strong cover letter is structured around a number of key areas; each adding further emphasis to your application.

First things first

The purpose of the first paragraph is to clearly state why you are applying for the job. You should also mention that you’ve attached a copy of your CV or have included a completed application, in case either goes missing.

If you are responding directly to an advert, state the source (newspaper name, website address, job board name, etc.), the date the role was advertised and any reference numbers provided. If you are writing a speculative letter to an individual, indicate where you got their name and detail the assistance, advice or information required.

Where you are now

Section two should briefly outline your current situation and indicate your reasons for seeking a change. You will ideally include details about your current or last job and include relevant qualifications tailored to fit the requirements of the role.

What you have to offer

This section should clarify what you have to offer and why you are the right person for the job. You will need to highlight your transferable skills, achievements and versatility; show where you can add value and underline what makes you different. Mention any personality traits you have that are relevant to the role; reference how they have made a difference in your career so far and how they can again.

When completing this section in response to an advert, read the ad carefully and make sure your skills respond to the requirements specified by the recruiters or recruitment consultants.

Getting to know you

Tell the potential employer a little about their organisation to demonstrate you have properly read the advert and that you have done some research. This shows your commitment to working with them and that you have taken the time to consider why you want to do so.

What happens next?

Make sure to close your letter with a polite expression of interest in discussing the role further – mention that you would like the opportunity to talk about your suitability at an interview and that you await a response in due course.

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