CVs and Cover letters

Should you include a cover letter with your job application?

You should always include a cover letter with every application you make. This takes more time but the additional impression and level of professionalism you display will give you a distinct advantage. Many of the other applicants won’t even attempt to include a cover letter, which will automatically separate you from the rest.

There is plenty of advice online about how to write a strong cover letter. It should complement and enhance your CV, so be concise and tell the employer exactly why you are the best person for the job.

Below is some information to help you write a strong cover letter.

  1. What is the purpose of a cover letter?
  2. A cover letter is often your first contact with an employer and is used to introduce yourself, demonstrate your capabilities and show your interest in the company. It allows you to elaborate on your CV and personalise your application. The end goal of a cover letter is to get you an interview.

  3. How long should it be?
  4. Your cover letter should be no longer than one side of an A4-sized sheet of paper. Keep it simple but in a mature style. The content should be straight to the point and concise.

  5. What do you include in a cover letter?
  6. Before you start writing your cover letter you need to do your research. Find out everything you can about the company through their website, social media, newspaper articles, network contacts or even staff at the company. Read about what the role will involve, what the company has achieved, where it is heading, and who the company director is. All this information will help you to focus your letter towards the goals and vision of the company and the requirements for your role.

    The first paragraph should state your interest in securing the role, outline the job title and where you saw the position advertised. Spend the next few paragraphs talking about why you are applying for the role and why you want to work for the company, what skills you will bring to the role and why you will be suitable for the job. Draw heavily on past experiences and give examples where you have excelled in areas relating to the role.

    Conclude the letter by writing that based on your background and experience you will be the ideal candidate for the role and state your interest to be interviewed followed by your availability. Thank the employer for their time and consideration.

  7. How to structure a cover letter
  8. As with a normal letter, include your postal address and contact details in the top right corner, with the name of the contact person and company address left-aligned underneath this. If you don’t know who will be interviewing you, phone up the company and find out. You will be one of the very few who will have done this and you will stand out from the other applicants.

    Include the date and address the person you are writing to by name. If you are unable to find out the name then include “Dear Sir/Madame”. State “RE: Name of position” underneath this and then start your letter.

    In most cases you won’t personally know the person you’re addressing so conclude the letter with “Yours faithfully” followed by your signature and printed name

  9. Do’s & Don’ts
Do’s Dont’t
Do address your letter to a named individual. Don’t ever send your resume without a cover letter.
Do tell the organization that you will contribute to the company. Don’t waste space by writing content that is not serving a purpose.
Do send an original letter to each employer. Don’t send without proofreading or having a friend check it over
Do use simple language and good sentence structure. Don’t send a cover letter that contains any typos, misspellings, incorrect grammar or punctuation.
Do keep your letter short. Never more than one A4 side. Don’t just repeat what’s already written on your CV. Elaborate on the content