Cover lettersFind a job
Prospective employers will likely have to sort through dozens, if not hundreds, of applications. If your CV manages to catch their eye, the next place they will look is your covering letter, and you should consider it an expansion of your CV.
While there are plenty of templates available online, we advise graduates to take the time to write their own. Not only will this help you stand out from the stack of applicants who are using form letters, it will give you the opportunity to review your skills in relation to each position - something which will come in handy further down the line when you start getting called in for interviews.
Taking the time to write tailor-made covering letters will help you stand out.
What to Include in Your Covering Letter
Your covering letter should contain the following information:
- Name and Contact Details
- Company Information
- Skills and Qualifications
- What you can bring to the position
- Why you want the position
At the top of the letter, you should include the company's name, address, and contact information. If you know the name of the person receiving applications, include it here, and if you don't, try giving the company a call to see if you can find out. It seems simple, but going to the trouble to properly format your covering letter as a business document shows your skills in action.
Employers may be recruiting for several positions, so make sure the position you are interested in is stated clearly near the top of your letter.
Skills and Qualifications
Make use of the list you made in our identifying skills section, or look back at what you included on your CV. Expand upon those skills and relate them directly back to the job description. Include information about your degree and relevant skills learned during your time at university, and do likewise for any pertinent work experience.
What you can bring to the position
Here is your chance to tell your prospective employer why you would be a better choice than any other applicant. What are your long-term career goals, and how do the match up with the company's long-term goals? If you can show how those two things are related, an employer will be much more likely to call you in for an interview.
Why you want the position
Tell the company why you want to do that job, and why you want to do it with them. Let your passion for the work come through.
- keep it to two pages
- proof-read and spellcheck, and get someone else to read it over
- use a file format that can be accessed on both Mac and PC
- use a font that is easy to read, and leave margins for notes
- revise your letter for each application - a tailor-made letter is much more likely to get results!
It always helps to have someone with experience look your CV and Covering Letters over. Your university careers service should be happy to help with that.