How to write a great CV covering letter

A covering letter is your chance to stand out from the crowd. It gives potential employers an insight into your professional capacity, communication skills and make them want to read your CV to find out more.

Writing a covering letter may seem like a daunting task, here are a few pointers to help you get started:

Customise your letter

A covering letter has more impact if it convinces a potential employer that you are familiar with the organisation. You can accomplish this by researching the company you are applying to.

Firstly, briefly show how your skills and competencies match the job requirements. You may want to use bullet points to do this. Also, highlight areas of expertise that demonstrate why you are qualified for the job.

Each letter you send out should be targeted to a particular position and be tailored to a precise job description. Always find out the name of the person you should write to rather than ‘Dear Sir or Madam’. It shows that you have made an effort and you are really interested in that particular job.

Be clear and concise

The key is to give the reader an overview of your qualifications, work experience and professional accomplishments. The opening statement should clearly indicate the purpose of the letter- whether you are inquiring about a certain vacancy, or applying for a particular position.

Effective covering letters emphasise your interest in the specific organisation and outline your relevant skills. Keep your letter to one side of A4.

Don’t forget important details

Include your home address, e-mail address and all relevant contact numbers so potential employers can get in touch with you easily. Although you might have already added this information in your CV, it is useful to mention it in your covering letter as well. Don’t forget pertinent details – such as the position, title and location. Also identify where you heard about the position and who recommended you.

Proofread for perfection

A covering letter with any grammatical or spelling errors will immediately put off a potential employer. Thoroughly proofread a letter before sending it out – if necessary, get help from someone with scrupulous proofreading skills.

Signing off

In your concluding paragraph, make sure you emphasise your enthusiasm for the position. Include a call to action and mention your interest in scheduling an interview.
Also, it might be helpful to end on a friendly note, by indicating your passion for the industry and genuine zeal for the job…but don’t overdo it!

If you would like your covering letter reviewed, or would like further help and guidance, please book a consultation with one of our career consultants by registering with the OA.