How to Write a Covering Letter for a Job

covering letter with CV
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What is a covering letter? A covering letter is the term used in the United Kingdom for the letter that accompanies a CV or resume when applying for a job. It's the document which is known in the United States as a cover letter, and is used to feature your most relevant qualifications for the job you're applying for.

When you are writing a covering letter for a CV or resume, it's important to properly format and space your letter.

It is also important to include information on the job you are applying for, to mention your qualifications for the job, and to explain why you would be an asset to the employer.

Susanna Cha, writing on behalf of Guardian Jobs including about graduate jobs, marketing jobs and more, shares her tips and advice for writing a successful covering letter for a job.

Covering Letter Writing Tips

Technical Points
Use black Times New Roman or Arial 12 point font with single spacing and a one inch margin. Print out onto A4 paper. Create a letterhead with your name in 14 point bold and your address and contact details in 12 point to give the top a clean, professional look.

The Body
Three paragraphs will have an easy-to-read flow and contain all the relevant information without unnecessary fluff.

Paragraph One
Introduce yourself, your graduate status, where you live and attended school. Mention the specific post you are applying for, using the designation from the job posting.

Let them know where you found out about the job. State your qualifications and strengths relevant to the post and according to the specific requirements of the recruiter.

Paragraph Two
Follow on by expanding on your strengths, skills, qualifications, experience and background without copying your curriculum vitae (CV).

Be succinct and imaginative, setting out how all of this relates to the job. Let them know how you can contribute to their profitability.

Paragraph Three
Be assertive without seeming presumptuous by requesting an interview or response. Direct the reader to your enclosed CV. Ensure you leave details of when and where you can be reached. State your willingness to supply further information if required and be polite enough to thank the reader for their time and consideration.

Conclude with the formal tone of €œSincerely€ or €œRegards. Review these tips for how to close your letter.€

Letter Tense
Write actively and in the first person. Rather than “I’ve” you should write “I have.” Be varied in your syntax, avoiding “I” at the beginning of each sentence or paragraph. Be formal without appearing stuffy and check punctuation.

Proof Your Covering Letter
Proofread for grammatical errors. Use a spelling check facility. It is crucial that you spell the company name, the addressee and their designation correctly.

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