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Your covering letter is equally as important as your CV, often being the first document a prospective employer sees and better demonstrating your writing skills. Rather than a generic letter for all prospective employers, your covering letter should be targeted towards a specific company or position, showing that you’ve researched and put some time into the application process.
The covering letter should be set out much the same way as a standard formal letter. From the top:
– Recipient’s name and address (where applicable) set to the left margin.
– ‘Ref: Insert role targeted’ (optional).
– ‘Dear…’ ‘Sir/Madam’ or ‘name of individual’.
– Paragraph 1: Introduce yourself.
– Paragraph 2: Why you are interested in this job.
– Paragraph 3: Why the prospective employer should be interested in you.
– Paragraph 4: Conclude.
– Sign off: Use ‘Yours faithfully’ if addressed with ‘Dear Sir or Madam’. Otherwise use ‘Yours sincerely’.
Paragraph 1: Introduce yourself.
– Why have you sent the enclosed CV? ‘œI write in response to a recent advertisement for the vacancy of Mortgage Advisor’.
– Relevant background: “My previous experience in IFA roles (Independent Financial Advisory) and experience of successfully selling related products make me a good candidate for this vacancy”.
Paragraph 2: Why you are interested in the job.
– Why do you want to work in this role?
– Why do you want to work for this particular company?
– Why do you want to work in this industry?
Show that you’ve done your research – you need to convey extreme interest, motivation, and hunger, for the job you are applying for.
Paragraph 3: Why the prospective employer should be interested in you.
– Sell yourself. How do your experiences, skills and achievements make you a suitable candidate for this role? Demonstrate to the employer how you might add value to his or her company, that you tick all the boxes.
– For clarity, you may want to use bullet points to make a brief list.
– Be careful not to exaggerate or sound arrogant – be modest, support your statements with brief evidence.
– Be careful not to use the exact wording of your CV.
Paragraph 4: Conclude.
– Be positive, “I thank you in advance for taking the time to review my CV, I look forward to discussing my application further with you.”
Your covering letter should be kept to a maximum of one A4 page. If sending via email, place the letter in the body of the email (rather than as an attached document) and omit the address.