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Cover Letter Advice

What is a cover letter?

A cover letter is the note (typically an e-mail) you send with your CV when you apply for a job.

Are cover letters necessary?

Yes, a good cover letter will make your job application stand out from the crowd and will encourage the employer to view your CV.

Cover letters are a simple way to make a great first impression.

What should a cover letter contain?

Your cover letter should state which job you are applying for, why you are applying for it, and why you are suitable for it. If you have experience using the company's products or services, or have an exceptional skill which would suit the role, mention this in the cover letter.

The basic structure of a cover letter is as follows:

  • Opening statement (e.g. Dear Sinead).
  • The position you are applying for and where you saw the job advert.
  • Brief introduction stating where you currently work, how much experience you have, and what your education is.
  • Short paragraph stating why you are suitable for the role. The purpose of this section is to really sell yourself to the employer so they believe you are more suitable for the job than your competitors.
  • Request a meeting or interview, and state your availability and contact details.
  • Closing statement (e.g. Best wishes).

What are some common cover letter mistakes?

Poor writing skills

Your cover letter must be grammatically correct. This means no spelling mistakes, no incorrect use of capitalisation, and no text speak! If you do not have good writing skills, get someone to review and correct your cover letter for you. It is vital you do not send the employer a poorly written cover letter.

Generic cover letters

Your cover letter is your chance to really sell yourself, so do not simply copy and paste a generic cover letter for each job application. Generic cover letters make your job application blend into the crowd, and also suggest you have not put a lot of effort into your job application. It is definitely worth the time and effort to write an original, attention grabbing cover letter for each job you apply for.

Consistency

It is important the contents of your cover letter match the contents of your CV. Do not lie on your cover letter or mention skills or experience which are missing from your CV.

Underselling yourself

The purpose of your cover letter is to help you get a job. Therefore it is important you do not include any negative information about yourself or undersell your skills and experience. Everything in your cover letter should be positive and upbeat.

We will update this article from time to time, so please check back periodically.