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What is a Cover Letter?
A short formal letter of introduction to accompany your CV for use in job applications, used to clarify which job you are applying for and why you believe you are the perfect candidate. The sole purpose of a cover letter is to encourage the reader to read your CV, which could potentially lead to a job interview!
- A cover letter is your opportunity to sell yourself in just a few short paragraphs to make you stand out from the crowd. Remember that recruiters will often have to read through hundreds of applications and cover letters per day, be sure to make yours informative and interesting to read.
- Preferably no more than 2-3 paragraphs in length - you need to get your point across quickly and clearly (you should only exceed this length if it is absolutely unavoidable).
- It must be unique to the job you are applying for - we recommend that you do not re-use the same cover letter for multiple/different job applications as it may come across as being too vague, and not written specifically for each company & job description.
- Try to avoid using un-justified phrases such as 'highly motivated', 'team player' or 'results orientated' etc. Such phrases often become meaningless to the employer without evidence as it's unlikely anyone would state otherwise. If you intend to use similar phrases to these you must be able to clearly demonstrate these abilities with reference to the areas of your CV when possible.
- Once you have completed your cover letter, take a moment to ask a friend or family member to double-check it for any spelling mistakes and grammatical errors. It is very important to make a great first impression, if your cover letter contains any spelling/grammatical errors it shows a distinct lack of effort and attention to detail, so expect your application to be rejected immediately.
Writing a Cover Letter:
- Display your full name and address at the top right of the page (you may also choose to include your contact telephone number(s) and email address if available).
- It's very beneficial to mention the employer's contact name in your formal salutation, the reader is more likely to continue reading your application if it is directly addressed to them by name. If you do not know their name, writing "Dear Sir/Madam" is perfectly acceptable.
- The main body of a cover letter can be broken into three parts:
- State which job it is you are applying for and why you are contacting them.
- Explain how you will meet the requirements that were outlined in the job description. If the employer mentions they're looking for a specific skill set or level of experience, clearly emphasize your strengths in these areas by explaining what you have to offer and how you will benefit the company. Most important of all - you must explain why you are the perfect candidate for the job.
- Close with a short paragraph encouraging a positive action from the reader - persuade them to look at your CV and always mention that they may contact you if they have any further questions.