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What Should be in a Cover Letter?

Once upon a time all job applications were sent through the post, however today this is becoming a less frequent activity and a large majority of job applications are new emailed but at the end of the day this makes very little difference as the letter still needs to have basically the same attributes which should include the following:

  • The beginning of your letter should always start with Dear Mr. Smith as opposed to Dear John. It is never advisable to be too casual at this stage and always err on the side of caution when it comes to professionalism. The opening sentence should always mention that you are applying for the vacant position. As there may often me more than one vacancy use as much detail as you can such as the jobs title and any reference numbers that may have been given.
  •  While you want to sell yourself as much as possible remember that the bulk of the information about you and your qualifications and experience should be taken from your CV so on the covering letter remember to try and match your skills to the employers needs without seeming to be arrogant or overtly confident or too familiar. A good tact is to take the main attribute that they are seeking and give an example of what you have done to match what they are seeking. E.g. ‘My experiences of managing an office administration team of 20 and subsequently coordinating the successful implementation of the new computer system which added a 50% efficiency level  to monthly operations is a skill I wish to bring to your office environment.’
  • Less is often more. So your letter should contain snappy, informative paragraphs  which move along at a steady pace, overall two paragraphs is probably enough to talk about your qualifications and experience. You should also refer to your CV in a way that will make them want to read it, e.g. ‘To see the further marketing achievements I implemented within XYZ Ltd please see my Curriculum Vitae.’ This refers the perspective employer to examine the part of your CV that should impress the reader the most.
  • If you are seeking employment you are probably hoping to use your cover letter for a number of different job applications so you will be altering certain aspects of the letter each time to specifically relate to each individual company. When you start a new job application be sure you double check that you have changed the company name, the job contact name, don’t get this one wrong or your CV will probably be discarded. Also don’t forget to include your contact details here as well as on your CV.