Here's All You Need To Know To Write The Perfect Cover Letter

Whilst job searching at university you may be required to write a cover letter alongside your CV to show your skills and experience to prospective employers.

We know it can be challenging to know how to write a cover letter especially if it’s your first time, but that’s where we come to the rescue.

You don’t have to sit and wonder where to start, you’ll have the perfect document in no time thanks to our guide.

If you don’t have the faintest idea what a cover letter is, we’ll also be discussing this so carry on reading!

how to write a cover letter

What Is A Cover Letter?

If you’ve just moved to university and in need of a part time job to help fund your student life, you may be filling out some all-important job applications.

Perhaps you’ve stumbled at the first hurdle and realised you don’t have a clue how to write a cover letter, or what one actually is.

If so, a cover letter is a brief document which is sent to hiring managers to give some information on who you are, why they should hire you, and why you stand out from other applicants.

Cover letters should always be included when applying for a job and should accompany your CV.

Although you should make sure that it isn’t a duplicate of the information on your resume.

A cover letter should give the prospective employer an impression of you as well as showcase your skills and personality.

They’re also good at showcasing your written communication skills and your attention to detail within the application process.

Some employers may even read your cover letter before moving on to your CV, so it can be a make or break part of your application!

what is a cover letter

How To Write A Cover Letter

Are you fed up with procrastinating writing a cover letter and staring at a blank screen?

It’s a dreaded part of a job application for many, but it’s not as difficult as it seems to write a good cover letter.

We’re here to guide you through how to write a cover letter, remember each one should be written specifically for each job you apply to!

how to write a cover letter

1. Do Your Research

You should always do your research first and foremost before starting to write a cover letter.

So, that you can show the hiring manager you are keen to work for their company and why you’re the best candidate for the position.

It’s not just about researching the company, you should also make sure you know about the job you’re applying for, the challenges the company may be facing and its culture.

You’ll find tons of information with a quick google search or on the company website.

This way you can tailor your cover letter to the specific requirements of the employer.

doing your research for cover letter

2. Include Contact Details

Our next step in how to write a cover letter is to make sure to include your contact details so that the hiring manager can reach out to you.

A cover letter should be in business letter format meaning it should include your full name, email address, phone number, the date and the employer’s contact information.

Including your contact details should be one of the first things you do when writing a cover letter and should be within the top left corner, like your CV.

including contact details on cover letter

3. Address The Reader

Many people get confused when it comes to who to address when writing a cover letter, most of the time it’s because they don’t know the name of the hiring manager.

If this is the case, you can address the reader by stating “Dear Sir or Madam” or “Dear Hiring Manager” but it’s always good to greet the person hiring for the position by their name if you have this information.

This way, you’ve directly addressed the person who will be reading your cover letter, which may put you in with a better chance of being successful with the position.

addressing the reader cover letter

4. Include A Strong Opening

Similar to an academic essay, you should make sure that your cover letter has a strong opening as it will be the first thing a hiring manager reads.

This means it needs to be attention grabbing and feature why you’re interested in the position as well as who you are.

If you don’t write a strong opening, the reader may switch off and not want to read the rest of your letter so make sure to draw them in.

Within your first paragraph of your cover letter you should try to stand out from the crowd by starting with an impressive accomplishment, as well as conveying your enthusiasm for both the company and the position.

Most applicants will have relevant experience to suit the job role, so you don’t want to be generic, show yourself off and lead with passion!

including a strong opening cover letter

5. Highlight Your Skills & Experience

Our next step for how to write the perfect cover letter is to emphasise your skills and experience to show why you’d be a good fit for the company.

After you’ve written your strong opening, you should then try to include examples about the skills and professional experience you possess.

Any applicant can say they have a certain skill set but it’s about selling yourself and being specific about when you’ve demonstrated your skills, this is what the hiring manager will want to know.

It’s also important not to reiterate everything that’s already mentioned within your CV as you don’t want it to just be a copy and paste of your resume.

skills and experience

6. Keep Things Short

A cover letter should be no more than an A4 page and be a brief introduction to who you are as a person, your skills and experience and why you’re a good candidate.

You’ll have the chance to talk more in detail about these things if you’re invited for an interview.

So, don’t try and cram everything into your cover letter as chances are, the hiring manager won’t read all of it.

Short and sweet is the way to go when writing your cover letter as the reader will most likely look at it at a glance.

A couple of well-written paragraphs of around 250-400 words will do just fine!

keep things short cover letter

7. Stick To A Professional Tone

Writing a cover letter is important for job applications, so you should always make sure to use the right tone – professional yet friendly.

Although, writing professionally doesn’t mean your cover letter has to be overly formal.

Instead try to include language which is easy to understand and avoid using jargon or overly complicated words.

Save the informal and chatty tone for your social media posts, a cover letter should show that you’re a professional and detail-oriented individual, who’s an ideal candidate for the job you’re applying to!

sticking to a professional tone

8. Focus On Gaps Or Concerns

As someone studying for a degree it’s likely you will have some considerable gaps in your employment history.

This isn’t a problem, but you should perhaps think about addressing them in your cover letter.

Remember, your cover letter should be a positive reflection on you and your capabilities so make sure to keep your explanation brief and direct.

Just because you’ve had gaps in your employment, doesn’t mean you haven’t gained skills and experience, such as if you’ve taken a gap year whilst at uni.

If you don’t want to focus on your employment gaps, you could discuss these later on in the hiring process if you’re successful in getting an interview!

employment gaps

9. Close Strongly

Make sure to put your best foot forward within your cover letter and conclude with a strong closing statement.

If you have anything else to mention which you haven’t already, your conclusion is the place to summarise your strong points so don’t shy away from it.

You should thank the hiring manager for considering your application and that you look forward to hearing back from them.

After all they go through tons of candidates so thanking them for their time is the least you can do.

Some phrases you could finish off with are “Kind Regards” “Sincerely” or just simply “Thank you” followed by your full name.

Remember, your last paragraph will be the final thing the hiring manager reads so, try to leave a lasting impression and request a call to action.

girl reading a document

10. Make Sure To Proofread

We know, you’re probably applying for jobs here, there and everywhere whilst at university, but don’t just hit that send button straight away.

Rather, make sure to proofread your cover letter before sending it off.

This way, you can check for any mistakes or spelling errors within your cover letter, and make sure that your writing flows properly.

You could even get someone you know to proofread your cover letter and offer feedback.

This way they may be able to pinpoint mistakes you didn’t notice yourself!

We’d also suggest keeping a copy of the cover letter for each specific job, as prospective employers may refer to it in interviews.

proof reading a cover letter

In conclusion, you should put some time and effort into writing a cover letter for a job application, as this is your chance to make a good impression and secure an interview!

We hope this post has proved useful and we wish you luck with your cover letter writing and within your job hunting.

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