This isn’t the first online guide to writing a cover letter and it certainly won’t be the last, but while there are literally hundreds of thousands of guides out there, we think this one has something different to offer. If you’re thinking of applying here, this is certainly the best guide for you!
What sets this guide apart is that we’ll be explaining what we look for in a cover letter. We can’t guarantee that other employers look for the same things we do but there are likely things we look for in common.
Convey Your Personality
Cover letters are important. They’re arguably more important than CV’s, at least to us. CV’s get across any work experience and qualifications you might have; this information is of course important, but we place more of an emphasis on cover letters because they get across your character. The main thing we want to get a measure of from your application is your character, we want to gauge what kind of person you are. A cover letter will convey your personality far better than a CV ever will.
That’s what a cover letter is for, conveying who you are and why you think the job you’re applying for is right for you as best you can. Conveying your personality through the medium of writing isn’t always easy – that’s why we have job interviews – but our advice is do the best you can.
Be Clear & Concise
Brevity is a key ingredient to a great cover letter. Employers often receive large volumes of applications, so it pays to communicate your points as efficiently as possible. In terms of length, it really depends on the role you’re applying for, but we recommend keeping it within the boundaries of an A4 page. Another relevant point to make here is that the font and the font size you use makes a difference. You could send a beautifully written letter but if the font is barely legible then it may not be read at all. Stick to professional-looking fonts, Arial is always a safe bet. Also stick to a font size of around 11.
Again, this comes back to clarity. If your letter is well-written, uses correct grammar and spelling then you automatically have an advantage. Being able to easily read and comprehend your letter will help whoever is reading it to understand the points you want to get across – which is what a great cover letter is all about.
It can help to have a structure to your letter. How you structure your cover letter is ultimately up to you but something like this usually works well:
Keep this part short and sweet. In a couple of sentences explain what you’re getting in touch for, make sure you make it clear from the offset what position you’re applying for!
Use this paragraph to tell us about you and what makes you suited to the role you’re applying for. Mention any qualifications or skills you have that are relevant to the job here.
In this paragraph, explain what you think you have to offer the company and outline any career goals you might have. In this part of the cover letter you can also expand on any points listed on your CV.
Briefly summarise everything you’ve mentioned above, reiterate your interest in the role and why you’d be a great fit.
Sign off your letter formally with ‘Yours Sincerely’ (if you know the name of the person you’re writing to), or ‘Yours Faithfully’ (if you don’t), followed by your name.
Many guides out there will go on to outline strict rules on how to write your letter, with do’s and don’ts and a whole range of other constraining ‘tips’. There may be truth to some of them, but we tend to find that if all the conflicting advice out there was followed, you’d have a very hard time indeed putting pen to paper (actually don’t do this, type it and send it digitally) and writing anything that’s authentically you. The best cover letters are honest, simple, clear and to the point – from our point of view at least.