The letter should:
- be clear and concise
- state the job you are applying for and any reference number
- show that you understand what the job involves and, if possible, reflect your knowledge of the company you are sending it to
- give your reasons for applying for the position
- don’t repeat your cv but refer to points on your cv for the employer to note
- target your skills and achievements to the company requirements
- say why you are a suiable candidate for the job and not what you hope to gain from the employer
- say when you will be available for interview
Need some suggestions?
Include the name if known, otherwise begin with ‘Dear Sir/Madam’
Example cover letter
45 Hollyfield Road
4 March 2016
Kingston upon Thames
Dear Mrs Newton,
I am writing to you to apply for the position of Junior Sales Representative which I saw advertised in the Daily Telegraph on 7 October 2008.
After achieving four GCSEs grade A- C at school l studied at college for the BTEC Advanced GNVQ in Business within which I chose the Advertising Services option. I am urgently awaiting the final results. I am keen to gain employment within the advertising sector and I feel that I have a good understanding regarding what the work within an advertising firm involves. As you will see from my CV, I spent two weeks on work experience at the BBC in July 2008. I was involved in answering customer calls, computer input, filling in form, faxing, filing and word processing.
I am numerate and can communicate with a wide range of people. At school I achieved good results in Maths and English. In addition, I covered communication and numeracy on my BTEC course. I work well in teams and at college I was involved in a variety of group projects. One project involved investigating a number of businesses which are developing markets in other parts of Europe. I am also flexible, enthusiastic and keen to learn.
I am very keen to apply for your position of Sales Representative. I feel that I have the right combination of academic and personal skills to succeed in the advertising industry and that l could make a valuable contribution to your organisation.
I am available for interview at any time. I look forward to hearing from you soon.
Always send a covering letter with any CV or application. This is your opportunity to grab the employer’s attention and make a positive impression. However, if it’s badly presented, you won’t get very far. Covering letters need careful planning.
- Keep your letter to one side of good quality, A4, plain, white paper and use black ink.
- Unless a handwritten letter is requested, word-processed is best – it looks more professional.
- Use a clear, readable font – Times New Roman, Comic Sans and Arial are good choices.
- If a handwritten letter is requested, make sure it’s clear, neat and smudge-free.
- Aim for no more than three or four paragraphs and keep sentences short.
- Make sure you’ve got good, wide margins and put two line spaces between each paragraph to make it look neater.
- Make sure your letter has both your address and the prospective employer’s address at the top.
- If known, address the letter to a named person, i.e. the one who advertised the vacancy. If no particular name was mentioned, ‘Madam/Sir’.
- If the letter is addressed to a named person, end it with ‘Yours sincerely’. If not, use ‘Yours faithfully’.
- After this, don’t forget your signature.
The key with these letters is to keep them brief, get across the important points and let a positive, enthusiastic personality shine through.
If you’ve completed a long ‘personal details’ section on an application form, the letter should be short to avoid repetition. If you’re sending a CV, your letter needs to be a little more detailed, in order to put a personal slant on the information you’ve provided.
The tone of your letter should respond to the tone of the advertisement and job description. If that seems relatively informal, follow their lead, but be careful to avoid using language you wouldn’t normally use; it’s all about the real you.
As a rough guide, take a look at the following tips:
- In the first paragraph, get across what vacancy you’re applying for, and where and when it was advertised.
- In the second paragraph, let them know how your current position and previous work experiences and link them to the needs of the role you are applying for.
- In the third paragraph, without being repetitive, summarise your main strengths and skills; keeping them relevant.
- Let them know when you’re available for interview or you can start work. Conclude the letter enthusiastically with a confident: ‘I look forward to hearing from you’.
Before sending it off, check for errors and make sure the appearance and tone feel right throughout.
Before sending a covering letter, ensure sure you’ve:
- done your research on the company
- addressed your covering letter to the right person
- included both addresses at the top
- used good quality plain paper and an easy-to-read font
- stated what the job is and where you saw it advertised
- made it clear why you want to work for them and why your skills match the job
- reflected the job advertisement’s tone
- make yourself sound positive and enthusiastic
- kept it clear and brief, with good presentation
- checked and double-checked for errors