Tips and Advice for Writing a Cover Letter
When writing a cover letter there are many things to try and remember so that you can be as persuasive as possible to ensure that the reader will want to choose you for the available position at a company or university. It is also crucial that you do not use a generic cover letter for every job because Human Resource departments are extremely skilled in figuring out who has taken the time to modify their cover letter format and who has not.
It might also be useful if when reading over your cover letter you think to yourself if it makes you sound employable. If you are writing a motivation letter for university look over it yourself, or ask someone else to do it as well, and think if you sound like a great candidate. Usually this will help you to spot what is good in your letter and what is perhaps unnecessary or needs editing.
These tips and advice will hopefully give you an idea on what should be included or left out when writing your cover letter. You can not always be sure if the recipient of your application will read through your CV first or your cover letter, but either way your cover letter should persuade them to want to know even more about you with a follow up interview. Bear in mind the following:
- Individualise your cover letter for each position that you apply for – DO NOT reuse the same cover letter again and again.
- Proofread your cover letter or ask someone else to do it for you to spot any spelling/grammar mistakes.
- Include interesting vocabulary to encourage the reader to want to know more and to emphasise your skills and qualities.
- Avoid simply repeating what you have said in your CV or resume, it is fine to mention some of the main points again but interpret these to why they are appropriate for the position.
- If you are unsure of who you are addressing the letter to, DO NOT use generalised greetings such as ¨To Whom It May Concern¨ because it gives the impression of a copied template.
- Get straight to the point, there is no need for more introductions as you are wasting valuable words.
- Your opening and closing lines are crucial to catch the reader’s eye and make you memorable.
- Talk about the company to show you have done research.
- If the application itself has listed what they are looking for, use this as inspiration on what to include in your cover letter.
- Give examples of achievements or specific skills.
- Keep the letter short and concise, less than an A4 page will restrict you to only write about relevant and important points.
With this outline, it should be easier for you to avoid making any simple mistakes. Always put yourself in the reader´s shoes when going over your cover letter.
View some of our cover letter examples to see a few different ways you can write a cover letter.