Cover letter advice

find job

Find some insight idea for making the ideal Cover letter.

  • The function of a cover letter
  • How to write a successful cover letter
  • Cover letter tips to use
  • Sample cover letter

The function of a cover letter

Most employers these days still require a cover letter, mostly when you're applying for an advertised vacancy. A cover letter is like the introductory handshake at an interview. It's a personal greeting on paper that breaks the ice and introduces you to the prospective employer. It outlines why you're making contact and why you'd be a valuable employee.

How to write a successful cover letter

Making an introduction

Ensure you start your cover letter with the following essential information.

Your contact details

Include your name, address, telephone number(s) and email address at the top of the page. If you're putting your cover letter in the body of an email message, omit your contact details. On the other hand, if you're sending your cover letter as an email attachment, use the traditional cover letter format.

Date

Type the current date at the left margin, using the day, month and year, like this: 17 January 2005. Don't write the date on an email cover letter. The date will automatically appear on the email.

Contact’s name and address

Make sure you address your cover letter to the right person and use his or her correct title. If no name is given in the job ad, ring the organisation and find out the key contact’s name

Introduction

In the opening paragraph, outline the main reason for establishing contact. Are you responding to an advertised vacancy? If so, where and when was the job advertised? Are you cold-calling and looking for job openings? Have you been referred by a contact?

Body

The second and third paragraphs are the body of your cover letter. Tell the employer what skills, knowledge, experience, qualifications and personal attributes you can bring to the role. Why are you the best person for the job? What are your selling points? Showcase a few achievements that you're particularly proud of. Outline why you're interested in working for the company and highlight how you can contribute to the company’s success. Remember to tailor your cover letter to the job.

Conclusion

In the final paragraph, confirm your availability. Outline the next steps of the process. Don’t forget to include your contact details, so an employer can reach you to arrange an interview.

Yours sincerely
(Include your signature here)
No signature required if sending the cover letter electronically
[Type your name]

Cover letter tips to use

After your CV, your cover letter is generally your most important employment tool, so the better it reads when applying for a job, the better your chances are of landing an interview.

Make it personal

Why does it matter? Because addressing your cover letter to a named individual will create a quicker connection with the reader than a generic salutation. Likewise, if you can demonstrate your knowledge of the company or its products, your cover letter will stir the reader’s interest and stand head and shoulders above the rest.

Decide what makes you unique

It pays to differentiate between what you have to offer your employer and what your competitors can offer. Making a list will help you determine your personal point of difference, which will help not only in terms of knowing your own value, but will give your cover letter that competitive edge.

Think about specifics

A common recruitment complaint from employers is jobseekers not addressing selection criteria - so it pays to get it right. Make a list of the selection criteria then use bullet points and the SAO technique to demonstrate where and when you gained similar experience (Situation), what you did and how you did it (Action), and what the result of your actions were (Outcome.)

Flaunt your achievements

Every potential employer expects to hear about your achievements, but presenting the ones that best represent your relevant experience or transferable skills is critical. How to choose? Make a list of key achievements and only use the ones that relate best to the selection criteria and prove your abilities.

Think about the layout

Next to the content of your cover letter, its layout is probably the most important decision you'll make. There are a lot of things to consider, and it pays to use bullet-points for ease of reading, but one of the most important layout considerations is that your cover letter spans no more than one page in total.

Sample cover letter

Martin Connor
00X Mead Avenue
Slough, UK
Mobile: 0123 456 789
Email: mconnor@defiinitejobs.com

23rd March 2011

Pauline Kombi
HR Manager
ABC  Limited
0X Tower Street
London, UK

Dear Ms. Kombi,

I wish to apply for the position of Call Centre Supervisor as advertised on JobsCapital.com on 23rd March 2011. The job reference number is 123456.

I have enclosed my CV to provide you with an overview of my experience and training. I have six years experience working in call centres and a solid commitment to this important customer service field. My most recent position has provided me with 3 years supervisory experience as team leader of twenty staff.

I wish to build on my achievements and take on a management position in this area. To assist me in this goal I have recently completed a six-month course titled Managing Customer Service Centres. As a result, I can offer you a combination of practical experience and up to date theoretical knowledge.

I would be very pleased to discuss my application further with you at your convenience. Please contact me at the above address so that I can provide you with any additional information you may require.

Yours sincerely,

[Sign your name here]

Martin Connor