There are two main types of covering letter:
- A letter you send with your CV to apply for a specific job that you have seen advertised or have found out about in some other way
- A letter you send with your CV as a speculative application, to find out whether an employer has any work to match your skills and interests
As always, first impressions count. So here are some basics:
- Type your letter in a word-processing program. Use a letter template if you are not sure how to do a neat layout yourself. (See the internet links below for example templates.)
- Include your full name, address, telephone numbers, email address, and the date.
- Also include the name of the person you are writing to (if you know it) and the company name and address.
- If you do not know whether the person is "Mr", "Mrs", or "Ms", just use the person's full name: for example, "Dear Ashley Khan".
- Check your spelling and grammar and ask someone else to double-check.
- Make sure your letter and CV are printed neatly, on good-quality paper.
Note: If you send your CV by email, you still need to write a covering note. Include your contact details, a subject line, and what you are sending and why.
Always include a few sentences about the skills and experience you have and how these might be useful to the company.
A covering letter/email for a specific job should include the following:
- The job title, any job reference number, and where you heard about the job
- A few sentences to say why you are applying for the job and how your skills and experience match what the employer is looking for
- See here for an example covering letter for a specific job
A speculative letter/email should include the following:
- The reason you are writing
- A few sentences about the skills and experience you have and how these might be useful to the company
- See here for an example speculative covering email.
- Monster – Cover letter advice
- Under "CVs & Applications" you will find covering letter advice and samples.
- National Careers Service – CVs and covering letters
- Here you will find some general information and guidelines.
- Prospects – Speculative applications
- This site is mainly aimed at graduates, but gives useful general information – such as this page on speculative applications.
13 November, 2014