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Covering letter advice

Business man wearing a tie

Whether you’re submitting your CV via post or email, the cover letter is your first chance to wow your prospective employer. It is your only real chance to add a personal touch to the specific role or company you’re applying to, making clear it’s not a generic submission.

So, this is the order in which you need to construct your covering letter:

Make sure your contact details are clear at the top of the letter. There is no harm doubling up on both CV and covering letter and if they get separated it will be easier to reunite them.

Address the person formally, so as not to state an over-familiarity. ‘Mr Jones’ rather than ‘Tom’.

Your first sentence should state that you’re applying for the job (include reference numbers where relevant). ‘I am applying for part-time work as ADVERTISED JOB and would really like to work with you at COMPANY NAME’

Reference your qualities which qualify you to do the job but don’t cover it extensively, this should be covered in your CV. Always state what you can bring to the role and how you will meet the employer's requirements. ‘I can bring a hardworking, motivated and passionate work ethic to the team and this is because of the great admiration that I have for the COMPANY brand.’

Pick out the main responsibility which the role would require you to do and give an example as to why you’d be good at this. ‘I have been in ROLE for four years, which is largely customer service based. I believe the skills that I have developed there would enable me to cope in the fast-paced and exciting environment of the company.’

Finish with a polite sentence about the progression from submitting your application. ‘I would be grateful for the opportunity to work at your store and therefore I have attached a CV for your review. I am available for interview at your convenience and I look forward to hearing from you.’

Now you need to review this.

Is it too long? Two short paragraphs should be plenty of room to sell yourself effectively. Your statements should be punchy, get to the point and always assume the person reading it is very busy.

If you’re applying for multiple positions, don’t be lazy. Tweaking them for each job role is vital to show that you really want to be within that company. Also, don’t forget to make sure you update the company, job and contact information for each job, otherwise, your application will go straight in the bin.