How to write a cover letter: Tips, examples & template main region
How to write a cover letter: template & tips
Cover letter advice
What is a cover letter?
Before we begin – let’s go back to basics. A cover letter serves as a personal introduction to you as a professional. It most commonly takes the form of a personalised note to add to an online application or an email attaching your CV.
It enables you to briefly summarise why you are the right person for the job, before the reader goes on to find out more about you in your CV. It should whet the appetite of the reader with details that aren’t copied from your resume.
Follow our tips for how to write a cover letter or download our cover letter template.
Why write a cover letter?
The principle of a successful cover letter is simple: it needs to be sufficiently interesting to an employer to leave them feeling compelled to find out more about your skills and experience by reading your resume, before deciding to call you in for an interview. But not all candidates will make the effort to write a tailored and personalised cover letter.
How long should a cover letter be?
Best way to layout a cover letter
How to write a cover letter
1. Do your research
Your research shouldn’t end there though. Review the organisation’s website and social media profiles, its executives’ social media profiles and any online employee reviews. This will give you an indication of the appropriate tone to use in your cover letter and the points you should include, bearing in mind such factors as the organisation’s industry, culture and values.
2. Tailor your cover letter for the job you’re going for
3. Begin with a clear subject line
4. Address your cover letter to the right person
5. Write an attention-grabbing introduction
6. Add evidence of your successes
7. Highlight key skills
8. Sign off professionally
9. Review your cover letter
What NOT to include in a cover letter
Repeat your CV
Don’t go overboard with the flattery
Don’t write in the third person
Final tips around how to write a cover letter
- Keep it succinct and relevant. Your cover letter should not exceed five to six paragraphs – and certainly not one page.
- State what your motivation is behind your application.
- Just as you would in your CV, use strong verbs to demonstrate action and accomplishments, such as "organise" or "supervise".
- Optimise the subject line, if you can. Also check the job description again, in case the employer asks applicants to include something specific in the subject line.
- If you are applying for a job through an online application rather than email, you may like to put your cover letter and resume into the same document so that one does not get separated from the other.
- Follow up your job application with a telephone call. A recruiter and hiring manager’s inbox can get very full, so a simple call can prompt them to open your email and read your cover letter and resume if they haven’t already done so.