10 Tips for Writing Covering Letters

cover letter
Written by Sneha Chudasama

cover letter

  1. Put your name on the top right hand corner and the address of the company you are applying for (preferably with the department name) on the left hand side above where you write “Dear..” It may seem strange when you’re writing an email but it shows that you have made an attempt to make your covering letter look as professional as possible.
  2. Avoid using Dear Sir/Madam or Dear Hiring Manager at all costs! If you have the time to email asking whom you are addressing then definitely make the effort to do so. It shows you pay attention to detail, you know exactly who your letter is going to and that you’ve done the appropriate research before choosing to apply for that job.
  1. Try to avoid empty statements, for example I am highly skilled in writing. Instead attempt use of evidentiary statements such as I have achieved an A grade in GCSE English language.
  1. Sell yourself does not mean be mean incredibly arrogant. Express yourself through your achievements and qualifications and skills set. Although it’s not possible in the whole covering letter, where it can be avoided try not to say “I” too much because companies want to know what you can do for them. Focus your letter around the benefits you will bring them.
  1. Think about all of the activities you have taken part in outside of your education and how they may be relevant, for example social skills, leadership skills etc.
  1. Be honest. Imagine that your potential interviewer works for MI5, they will catch you out even if they don’t show any signs of doing so.
  1. Include the reference number where possible and where you saw the vacancy.
  1. Check grammar and the flow of the covering letter by reading it aloud. It usually sounds different when you hear yourself saying it and you may notice errors that were not apparent whilst writing.
  1. Do not waffle.
  2. Tailor all covering letters specifically for each job. Before writing try and identify as many qualities you have that can help you land an interview (e.g. qualifications, extra curricular activities, work experiences etc) and identify the skills that the job description and person specifications ask for and attempt to match these up as much as possible.

As a bonus, here’s a free covering letter template you can download. The fact that it’s downloaded 11,000+ times is just a small sign that it may be good!

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About the author

Sneha Chudasama

Having recently graduated I am keen to share my experiences and the knowledge I have gained with my peers. Throughout my three years of university ups and downs have been an integral part of my life in education and these have impacted me in both positive and negative ways to aid me in becoming the individual I am now (an individual that’s still making mistakes!). On CareerGeek I am going to try and bring to light the lessons I’ve learnt so that hopefully you can receive the advice that I wish I had before I started uni. Find me on LinkedIn