A cover letter is also called a motivational letter. It is a short letter that you submit with your CV to employers when applying for a job. It is your first message to your future employer. Try to make it interesting and show them who you are.

What is a cover letter?

  • The format is similar to a standard formal letter.
  • It is not a summary of your CV! Don’t repeat everything that is already on your CV. Rather highlight some of your skills or experiences that make you the best candidate for the job.
  • Keep it simple, short and professional: Only 3-4 paragraphs consisting of 2-3 sentences each, about half to 3/4 of a page.
  • When you have a job application you are interested in, do your research. Find out more about what research you should do by reading our article on understanding the job advert. Don’t say you researched the company. Say what you found interesting, to prove that you have done research.

Every cover letter must be different and match each job you are applying for. You cannot submit a generic (or the same) cover letter. You have to research the company and position of the job, to find interesting information to add to your cover letter! Your cover letter should include information that shows you understand the company goals, what they are trying to achieve, and how your skills can help them accomplish their goals.

Why send a cover letter with your CV?

  • It draws the employer's attention to the key points of your CV.
  • An informed or well-researched letter shows employers how much time and effort you put into getting the job, and it will help you stand out.

Your cover letter must have the following:

  • A strong opening statement.
  • Clearly, state why you interested in the job and why you are the right person for the job.
  • Highlight your skills, achievements or experiences that show how you meet the employer's requirements, can help them achieve their goals or add value to the company.
  • Show who you are and what you are about. You want the employer to be interested in knowing more about you.
  • Don’t try to be funny; not everyone laughs at the same jokes.
  • Keep it short.

Your cover letter is your first opportunity to stand out! It is used to highlight and expand on your top strengths (skills or achievements). Create your unique professional identity, showing employers what you are about and what you have to offer them. Employers should want to read your CV after they have read your cover letter. Remember to customise your CV and cover letter to meet the company’s needs and match the job advert.

Next Step: Find out how to create a cover letter.