A good CV never travels alone and a cover letter is an essential part of any job application. But what is a cover letter and what should you put in it?
A good cover letter goes a long way to ensuring you get to the interview stage. Make sure you put the same time and effort into a cover letter as you do into creating a CV.
What is a cover letter for?
A cover letter should make it clear which job the CV is for and include the job title and any reference that has been given for it. Basically, a cover letter should help your potential employer to direct your application appropriately. When your CV is sent in electronically, the professional courtesy of sending it with a cover letter is standard practise.
What to write in a cover letter?
There are a few things which your cover letter has to include. For advice on writing a cover letter, see our how to write a cover letter article. Ideally, your cover letter will not take long to read as it should be extremely well laid-out.
Typed letters are preferable to hand written ones for most jobs. If you have a clear and concise message which helps to direct your CV to where it should be, then your letter will have done its job.
Cover letter pitfalls
Make sure your cover letter doesn’t detract from the quality of your CV. A cover letter with bad spelling will mean that your CV never even gets looked at. If you are unsure, then get someone to proofread your letter before you sign it and send it off. Take as much care as you would with your CV.
Your cover letter must be relevant to the job you are applying for. Avoid re-using one from another job application. Remove any reference numbers for old jobs from any templates you may have kept. Ensure that any job title you mention is 100 per cent accurate.
Keep it short
If you think your covering letter is too long, then it is. Cut it down. The information given should be to-the-point yet as clear possible, whilst maintaining a friendly, professional tone.
Email cover letters
For positions which require an emailed application, the email itself can act as the cover letter. A CV can be sent as the attachment to the email. Ideally, a covering email will make a brief introduction and mention your CV has been attached.
Finish the letter on a positive note. Statements such as “I look forward to hearing from you” show your motivation and that you are keen to get a response.
Now you know how important it is, make sure you consider these tips on writing winning cover letters . These can really help you to succeed where others fail.