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Cover Letters

Tips on creating cover letters

Having a good cover letter is just as important as having an effective CV. It is often an employer’s first impression of you. It helps set the tone and introduces your CV. These useful tips can help you create a good cover letter that works in conjunction with your CV.

General

  • A cover letter should be no more than one page long.
  • It should match the style, font etc. of your CV.
  • Best to address the letter to a specific person.
  • Aim for the letter to complement and expand on relevant details in your CV.
  • Use paragraphs of text to improve readability.
  • Always include your contact details and email address.

Main Content of Letter

  • Keep sentences under two lines long, succinct and to the point.
  • Be professional in the language used but not over formal.
  • Avoid clichés and the overuse of complicated language.
  • Tailor your letter to the key words of the job advertisement and / or employers terminology.
  • The first paragraph will cover why you are writing and identify the position you are applying for.
  • In the middle paragraph(s) you will aim to show your match to the job and how your experience, skills and achievements relate to the vacancy.
  • Highlight the most relevant reasons as to why you should be called for interview and how you can be of benefit to the organisation.
  • The middle section can be divided into smaller paragraphs.

Ending off

  • End the letter by thanking them for taking the time to read your letter and CV.
  • State that you are available for interview and how best to contact you.
  • Sign off the letter ‘yours sincerely’ followed by your full name.

Final check

  • Does your letter sound confident and provide a clear message about your suitability for the job?
  • Have you customised the letter?
  • Did you carefully proofread and check for typos, grammar mistakes etc.?
  • You can use the cover letter as the email message or as an attachment.
  • Give the cover letter a professional file name ‘J. Murphy cover letter’ if sending as an attachment.
  • Always keep a copy of your cover letter so you are prepared when called for interview.

Other Tips

For more helpful information to support your job search, see our Job Seeking Tips.