Never underestimate just how effective having a decent covering letter in support of your application can be, after all your CV will only tell an employer half about who you are and the skills you can bring to their business. Covering letters serve to convince prospective employers that they need to read your CV, they can be seen as the opening trailer before the main show, being your CV. This is your main opportunity to break down barriers and to create a more personalised link between a piece of paper and the actual person.

We have put together a checklist of the things that you need to remember in creating that perfect covering letter.


  • Make sure you start by addressing your covering letter to the relevant person, check that you have spelt their name correctly.

  • Structure your covering letter accordingly, it must not be too long, aim for it to be made up of four key paragraphs. Each should add something to your message and should be clear and succinct in its delivery. For the first paragraph start by introducing yourself and your agenda. For the second paragraph outline what you can bring to the company, your specific skills and experience. In the third paragraph tell the employer why they should consider you and why you would be of value to their company. In your closing paragraph finish by stating your availability for the interview. Make sure that your contact details and availability are up to date so that the relevant recruiters can contact you if necessary for an interview, you do not what to miss out on any opportunities.

  • It is best if you concentrate on the company’s requirements rather than you getting carried away by talking about your own achievements. You need to convey that you understand the company and its requirements. It is also best if you avoid the word ‘I’ in the opening paragraphs.

  • Remember to tailor each and every covering letter to the job you are applying for. Employers will know if you have sent them generic letters and will be unimpressed. Again try to address your covering letter to a named individual rather than ‘dear sir/madam’.

  • Avoid adding any unnecessary information that will not enhance your application, if you get the chance to be invited for an interview then that is the time to convey your personality across.

  • Always, always check over your covering letter for spelling mistakes that could affect your chances of being selected for an interview.

  • Almost all covering letter these days are expected to be typed rather than hand written, unless specifically requested. You should use white plain paper on which to type your letter, avoid coloured or scented paper.

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