The cover letter is an important part of the job application process. It is your first message to employers stating your interest in the position and why you are suitable for the job.
Follow these 7 steps to create a good cover letter:
Step 1: Addressing your letter
- Write your name and surname on top of the page in a large and bold font.
- Then write your location, phone number and email address underneath your name.
- Write the following information in the top left-hand corner of the page:
(1st Line): The date (then create a space between the first and second line)
(2nd Line): The person's full name (name and surname)
(3rd Line): The person's job title (if you find it) or department (if you couldn’t find it)
(4th Line): Name of company, business or organisation
(5th Line): Street name and address
(6th Line): City and postal code
Tip: You can search online or call the employer to request the recruiter or hiring or HR manager's full name and job title. It creates a good impression. Pay close attention to spelling.
Step 2: Starting your letter
- Always try your best to address your letter to the hiring manager. You can find it on the job advert or search it on the internet, company website or on social media platforms.
- Address the person with one of the following:
- “Dear Mr or Ms [their surname]” - if you know their name.
- “Dear Sir or Madam” or “To whom it may concern” - if you don’t know the name.
Step 3: Your first paragraph
- Mention the job position you are applying for and personality traits that match the role.
- Never use the introductory phrase “My name is [Name & Surname], and I am applying for the position…” Don’t mention what the employer already knows/expects. It makes you seem inexperienced.
- Include an interesting fact about yourself that relates to the company or job position.
Step 4: Your second paragraph
- Mention why you interested in the particular job.
- Mention what attracted you to the company.
- Mention why or how you see yourself working there.
Tip: Try to include something interesting about the employer or company to show that you have done your research. For example, a fact about the company’s goals or values.
Step 5: Your third paragraph
Summarise your strengths and how you can add value to the company.
Tip: Look for problems the company or industry may be facing during your research. Employers are always looking for people who can help them solve problems. You don’t have to be specific or know the exact solution. Look for trends that affect the sector and how your knowledge or experience can help the issue. For example, “Many employers struggle to understand young customers’ financial behaviour, as a young person myself, I understand what sale methods work best for young people.” Show that you are socially aware and equipped to meet those needs.
Highlight 2 of your top skills, qualities or achievements that match or relate to the requirements of the job (then elaborate on them, in your CV).
Step 6: Ending your letter
- It is optional to include when you are available to start working.
- Thank the employer for taking the time to read your letter and mention your hopes of meeting them or being invited to an interview. For example, “Please get in touch if you have any further questions about my background. I appreciate your consideration and would be most grateful for the chance for us to meet in person.” Or, “I would gladly welcome the opportunity to meet with you in person or speak over the telephone. I look forward to hearing from you.”
Step 7: End your letter with a greeting and your full name
- “Yours sincerely,” - if you are addressing the person by their name.
- “Yours faithfully,” - if you don’t know the name of the person.
(Last line): Your name and surname.
Before you submit:
- Be sure your letter is a half to ¾ of a page long (no longer than a page - the shorter, the better).
- Check that your grammar, spelling and all contact details are correct (one mistake can cost you the job).
- Follow the instructions in the job advert carefully before sending.
- If you are emailing your application, copy and paste the text (steps 2-7) of your cover letter in the main body email and send your CV as an attachment.
Next Step: Some advice to help you prepare for your interview.