Does writing a covering letter seem like too much hard work? Do I really need to attach a covering letter with my CV? How do I write a covering letter?

The first thing I would say is: if you're planning to write a generic covering letter to send with all your applications, you're not only wasting your time, but actually significantly reducing your chances of being shortlisted for interview!

The covering letter is probably the first thing a prospective employer or recruiter will see. If you haven't even taken the time to write a covering letter specifically for that employer and the role you're applying for, a prospective employer will already have a bad impression of your level of effort and interest in the role.

However if a covering letter is written correctly and is tailored specifically to the role you're applying for, it can really give you an advantage over other candidates and significantly improve your chances of achieving interview. It's an ideal opportunity to sell your most relevant skills and to substantiate your level of interest and motivation for applying to that specific role and organisation.

Here are a few tips to consider when writing a covering letter:

  • Be personal. If you have been provided with a contact name, ensure that your covering letter addresses them personaly.
  • Tell a prospective employer why the role and the organisation interest you.
  • Use the job description / advertisement as a guide, in order to ensure you cover relevant experience, skills and essential requirements.
  • Do your homework. Have a look at the company website and tie in what you know about the organisation with your key experience and your reasons for being interested.
  • Ensure your covering letter is relevant, concise, well-structured and easy to read.
  • Include your full name and contact details (particularly your email address and daytime telephone number). If you have been requested to send your application by post, ensure that your postal address is also included at the top of the covering letter.

Hope this helps. If you get stuck, we would be happy to write a covering letter for you.

Author: Nike Wadds, Stand Tall Consulting

Copyright 2012 Stand Tall Consulting