Preparing a killer cover letter

A covering letter is a document that is specifically written to the Recruitment Agency or Employer in reference to the job that you are applying for. The purpose of the letter is to excite and encourage the recipient to read your resume to ultimately result in a meeting. It is an “Executive Summary”, and is your most important sales document.

With this in mind, here’s how you can improve your chances:

  • Your letter must be personalised and dated, followed by the recipient’s title, full name and position. In the next line the business name, followed by the address.
  • After the Dear (first name or Mr, Ms etc, as appropriate), your letter should have a 3 – 5 line introduction paragraph which addresses why you are writing the letter to the recipient. This is your lead-in paragraph, so make sure it is exciting and interesting and avoid using dull standard opening lines.
  • The next paragraph should thread one or more of the points made in the lead paragraph e.g. Why you want the job, what you can offer etc…
  • The next 1 to 3 paragraphs should be more about you, who you are, your special qualities (those relevant to the role) but do keep it real! Avoid waffling and trying to write clever and witty sentences; you will not get the job based on your wonderful grasp of the English language, although in saying this, make sure that it is well-written.

As mentioned earlier, use the spelling and grammar check. Demonstrating that wonderful grasp of the English language won’t, in itself, get you the job, but demonstrating an inability to effectively use language as a persuasive tool will almost certainly lose you the possibility of getting the job.

  • The last paragraph is your closing and it’s a little-known fact that last impressions are almost as important as first ones, so make sure this summarises one or two key points in your letter, your availability and what you anticipate, followed by your full name and contact details.