How to write a great cover letter


A well written cover letter can be just as important as your CV when looking for a job. Employers spend less than a minute looking at job applications and your cover letter is an opportunity to stand out against other applicants. Here we look at some easy tips to help you make an impression and tell the employer why they should hire you.

Knowledge is key

In your cover letter you are able to expand on what you know about the company. Research the company, and the job you are applying for, prior to compiling your application and incorporate some of that information into your letter.

"Researching a company before applying allows you to show that you have initiative and are genuinely interested in what they do. As well, it lets you establish the tone and style of the company and allows you to incorporate terminology that is consistent with them." explains Suzanne Feeny, Director Robert Walters Ireland.

Address your letter

The last thing you want is for your letter and CV to go to the wrong person, or to nobody at all. If you are applying for a job, the person to apply to should be listed. In this case, always address your letter to that person. If nothing is listed though, you can address it to the Manager or Supervisor of the department you are applying to.One great way to show how you will bring value to a company is by giving tangible examples of work you’ve done which directly relate to the job requirements.

Don’t just copy your CV

Your cover letter is a chance to expand on your CV. You don’t just want to list your qualifications and experience, instead opt for comments on how you can directly add value to the company.

“One great way to show how you will bring value to a company is by giving tangible examples of work you’ve done which directly relate to the job requirements. Write two or three sentences explaining the tasks, how you were able to complete them and the benefit to your employer” says Suzanne.

Keep it short

Almost half of employers prefer a cover letter which is about half a page in length. If it is too short it can look like you didn't put much effort into it and if it is too long it may lose the readers' interest.

“We find the best cover letters tend to be three paragraphs, or half a page, at the most. This way you have a chance to sell yourself to the company but you are not giving long and unnecessary information” Suzanne continued.

Have someone proof read your letter

Common easy mistakes can make the difference when an employer is deciding between two candidates. Once you have written your cover letter, have someone proof read it to catch any mistakes. Make sure the spelling and grammar is correct and then sense check the letter a final time to ensure the content is concise.

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