The classified pages in a newspaper spread over a table with cover letter notes, pen and notebook

What is a Cover Letter?

Alongside your CV a cover letter is a great opportunity to tell employers why you have applied for the job in question and why you would be the right person for that job.

When you buy a computer or smartphone online, the website will give you two descriptions of the product. One will be in bullet point format, it will tell you the specific properties of the product (e.g. amount of storage, picture quality etc.), this is similar to your CV. The other will be a paragraph that really sells the product to you (e.g. “this laptop’s HD screen makes it great for graphic design…”), this is similar you cover letter.

You cover letter is generally read before your CV so it's important that you make an impact and make them itching to read your CV. Those that create a good first impression are well constructed, don’t contain any spelling mistakes or bad grammar, and support what you are saying in your CV.  Although you need to be polite and formal, you can write in a voice that's suitable to you, letting people get behind the text and get to see the real you. To make an impact you need to show employers that you have done your research, that you understand their organisation, what the job involves and what they are looking for in an employee. You can then convince them that you are the right person by showing where your skills and experience fits in with their ideal. 

What do I need to put in my Cover Letter?

A cover letter should be made up of four components:

  1. The purpose of your cover letter - which role you are applying to, where did you see the vacancy etc.
  2. Your current position 
  3. Where you see yourself in the future within the role and the company - this needs to be back up with your skills and experience and  show that you've researched the company in question
  4. Close the letter - thanking them for their time and welcoming the opportunity to meet

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