The Basics: Cover Letters

A cover letter is the opportunity for you to stand out from the crowd and impress an employer. It is the place to explain your motivation to do the job, your enthusiasm for the particular role and, most importantly, demonstrate a clear understanding of the organisation that you are applying to.

‘Little things are infinitely the most important.’ according to Sherlock Holmes. This is the key to an effective cover letter. Always include specific and relevant information about yourself to make you stand out.

QM Careers can guide you through this but you will need to create a draft version before booking a cover letter check with a Careers Consultant. Always remember to bring the original job description to each appointment.

What is it?

A cover letter is not just a repeat of your CV.

It is a single page letter, never longer than an A4 page, which is a tailor-made personal statement for a particular job and organisation.

A well written cover letter must always convey a competent and professional attitude.

cover letter-page-001

How do I write a Cover letter?

Clue A: Why them?

Always research the company before you start writing. Identify what it is that makes you a good fit for the organisation and use hard factual evidence to illustrate this. Avoid any blatant flattery or vague statements.

Clue B: Why you?

Impress the employer that you have the skills, experience and personal attributes for this role. Illustrate your unique selling points with three or four concrete examples rather than try to cover everything. Make yourself memorable – employers often read up to 1000 cover letters at a time which means that you need to include evidence that will make you stand out.

Clue C: Be professional

Your cover letter is a professional business document. It must be well presented and contain zero spelling errors. Always make sure you get someone with a good eye for detail to proofread your letter.

Clue D: Gaps in your CV?

Deal positively with any gaps or weaknesses in your CV. Explain the reasons you may have taken longer to finish your degree by using positive language ie this demonstrates resilience when faced with challenging situations.

More help?

Take a look at these websites to ensure that you understand the importance of a well written cover letter before you start to write your own version.

http://www.careerstagged.co.uk//files/pdf/Cover_Covering%20Letter.pdf

http://www.prospects.ac.uk/cover_letters.htm

 

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