Ann Pettengell | Recruitment | Latest News

Covering Letters

Posted on: 24th May 2016 by: Ann Pettengell

A covering letter should be seen as the first page of your application, not just a last-minute attachment to send in with your CV. 

Wherever possible, address your letter personally to the hirer.  This is especially important if the advert has stated the hirer’s name.  Omitting it will show that you don’t have the attention to detail that your CV has claimed.  Additionally, it will show that you have taken the time to write a letter just for them, rather than simply including a copy of your ‘Dear Sir/Madam’ letter.   Even if you are applying through an online system, wherever there is a chance to write a covering note/email, which is almost always, then you should take it. 

Before you start writing, research the company culture (corporate, informal, creative) and adapt the style and tone of your letter accordingly.  This is the very first impression a hiring manager gets of you.  Pitch it right and they will already be considering you a ‘company fit’ before meeting you.

Whilst the objective of a CV is to keep it brief and to the point, your covering letter offers you the opportunity to expand on your biggest selling points and demonstrate the excellent communication skills you have claimed to have.  Show a bit of your personal side, relate your skills to the job on offer, and try to answer the question ‘Why should I invite you for interview?’  This is your chance to encourage the reader to give your CV more than the average 30-second scan.

Presentation counts.  Use a clear, legible font and, if printing, go for plain white paper.  Coloured paper will definitely get you noticed, but not always for the right reasons.  Keep your letter to one page, try to avoid clichés, then spell-check and proof-read the whole document.  Twice.

Last but not least, please remember that writing ‘Please find enclosed my CV’ is not a covering letter.


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