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Effective Covering Letters

Now you’ve put together your CV you’re almost ready to start applying for jobs. But do remember that it is just as important to put together a strong covering letter as it is to have a great CV.

Student on Laptop

Do I need one?

Yes! Always send one even if it isn’t requested. It is an excellent opportunity to introduce yourself to a potential employer and can make your application stand out.

Is a covering letter necessary if all my information is on CV?

All of the key information about your work experience and education should be on your CV. But what about the employer?  A covering letter is a chance to show off your skills, experience and writing style in more depth but also to emphasise why you are interested in the company you are applying to – always tailor it to the employer!

Why is it so important?

Many employers will be given your CV with your covering letter sitting on top of it. They are likely to read your covering letter before looking at your CV so all the time and effort you’ve put into your CV could go to waste if your covering letter isn’t up to standard.

How long should it be?

Usually one page with 3 to 4 carefully structured paragraphs. Make sure your spelling and grammar are correct.

What should it include?

  • A Professional layout – Your address, the date, the contact name, job title and address. Always try and find the name of the recipient. If you can’t find this, use ‘Dear Sir/Madam,’
  • Introduction – What you applying for, including reference code and where you saw it advertised
  • Why you – What do you have to offer?
  • Why them – Tell them why you are interested in the job, company, sector
  • Conclusion – Sign off using Yours Sincerely, if you have used the recipient’s name, and Yours Faithfully if not

What if I’m sending my CV in an email?

Think about including the covering letter as an attachment (save it as a PDF to avoid losing your formatting) and also add a brief email message, stating what you are applying for and the documents you have attached. Make sure that this email sounds professional and uses good English as this is likely to be the first impression an employer has of you. Don’t forget to include a subject and attach all the documents required and always send your email from a professional and appropriate sounding email address!

Remember The Careers and Placements Service can offer help with you covering letter whilst you are a students and for two years after graduation. There are lots of resources available on StudyNet and CareerHub. You can also have your covering letter reviewed – book your appointment now on CareerHub.

Image of Katharine Littlefair

Katharine Littlefair is a Careers and Placements Officer in the Careers and Placements Service at the University of Hertfordshire














Images: University of Hertfordshire (c) All Rights Reserved

  1. 22/11/2012 at 08:53

    Thanks for your this important tips…it’s true that professional curriculum vitae writing services make the employer realize that reading your resume being worth all the effort. One should write the achievements made by you which would make you mindset and will highlight your capabilities…

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