A cover letter is an important part of submitting a job application and is the first thing your prospective employer will read from you. It is your first impression, so you need to make sure that it is well written and contains the correct details. Our team see hundreds of cover letters, some brilliant; some needing work so here are a few pointers to make sure yours goes well.

What is a Cover Letter

The cover letter which should fit on to a single page of A4 paper is designed to summarise your application and state your intention of applying for the role. It needs to be specific and simple to ensure that you stand out from that first moment and the employer is keen to read more about you and hopefully me you.

How to Start

Never start with ‘To whom it may concern’, try and find out who you are actually applying to and write to them by name, but do not use their first name, you still do not know this person. Mr or Ms and the surname is the correct format here, keep it formal and professional. It might take some digging or a couple of phone call, but it is worth finding out the correct person to address.

Gather Information

Use all the information you are given in the job advert, and if needs be get back to your digging and find out more. There will be a job description, and if it isn’t attached, you can ask to be sent a copy. This gives you as much detail as possible so you can start to match your skills to the role they have advertised.

Formal Letter Writing

When writing a cover letter, you will use formal letter writing. At the top right of the page, you should add your name address and contact details, in this day and age, mobile phone numbers and email addresses are considered usual but do include your postal address as well. On the left, set a few lines down, add the name of the contact you found, and their address.

The Body of the Letter

Start with a line that says something like, ‘In reference to <insert position>’ then begin your letter by confirming that you would like to apply. Now set out why you are applying and how you can see where you match their specification. Keep it short and to the point and do not waffle. Make sure you mention your ‘essential’ criteria, ‘I have the required degree in Computer Science’ the details of this will be in your enclosed CV. Use language that matches their language, if they ask for dynamic, you should state you are dynamic.

Finally

Proofread and check for mistakes as this looks awful, so get someone else to check if you aren’t sure. Ask your proofreader if it makes sense or if anything is ambiguous. Be sure to contact Outstaff if you are hoping to secure a job as we can help with issues like a good cover letter.