How to write a good cover letter

Close up of businessman signing a contract.

Cover letters are a very important part of your application process as it allows you to demonstrate your writing style and gives you an opportunity to expand on your skills, something that CV’s lacks as it is usually brief and simple.

A survey was recently completed where it asked employers how a cover letter should be, take a look at the findings:

19% – Of employers preferred a full page

46% – Preferred half a page

11% – Had no preference at all

24% – Felt the shorter the better

As you can see by analysing the results of this survey, employers wanted to see cover letters and preferred them to be at least half a page.

So when you begin writing a cover letter, it is vital to address it to the right person! The best way of doing this is to find the name of the person you are writing to – not always as easy as it sounds, especially if you are going through an online job board. Have a look to see if you have any email correspondence with the company or give the company a call and ask who to address your application to…this shows incentive and professionalism from your side.

So what information might employers be looking for in your cover letter? You want to mention the skills you have that match the job description, this is the basis on which the recruitment team will operate.  If they see you have the skills they are looking for, your application will progress. You want to take this opportunity to back up your CV, expand on your experience, accomplishments etc. When you finish writing your cover letter make sure it is clear! Read it and make sure your cover letter is well written, there are no spelling mistakes and it actually applies to the job you are applying for – a lot of students just recycle their cover letters for each role they apply for, which is ok but you have to bear in mind that some positions require different skills and what you have written for one company will not be applicable for another.

So now for the content… We have all been here, where do I start? What do I write? Worry not, my friend. We suggest you use these step by step examples for the structure of your cover letter:

For the first paragraph you want to make a clear statement of who you are and what position you want to apply for, clear and simple introduction which informs the recipient of what you are looking for. If you have been recommended by somebody who could be a point of interest for the company you are applying for, then you might want to mention that.

In the second paragraph you should state why you are applying for that company? Why you want to apply with them? This is something that will attract the hiring manager’s attention when they read your cover letter.  In the latter half of this paragraph you want to write why you are interested in that position? What you want to learn and achieve? What could you bring to the table? Then you should continue on summarising your skills by trying to relate them to the job role in question.

In the final paragraph it is important that you thank the employer and mention that you are looking forward to hearing from them; again, you want to show your interest in the role and how eager you are to join their team.

I hope this answers your questions regarding the cover letter and what you should look out for when writing one, and if you happen to make any mistakes then you are in luck! Well not entirely, but if you apply with us then our amazing recruitment team will find any mistakes and personally walk you through the process of improving your cover letter.