How to write a great cover letter

In the latest of our series of blogs on getting back to work after a break we’ve got a few tips on writing a great cover letter – this is good advice for everyone looking for a new job though, not just those who have had a break.  

A cover letter is an essential part of every job application. Many hiring managers have to deal with hundreds of applications so your cover letter needs to stand out and show them why they should want to meet you. It should not be a rehash of your CV but a few short paragraphs explaining why you are perfect for this particular job. 

Adapt your cover letter to each application – this is time-consuming but very important. Research the company and the role you are applying for. Make sure you understand what the company does, who its competitors and target audience are and what skills you’ll need to do the job. This will help with your cover letter and with your interview if you are offered one.  

Unless otherwise informed, be formal – a traditional structured letter, addressed to the person responsible for hiring and including your address and contact details, is the best approach. Open by saying which role you are applying for, follow that with a paragraph detailing why you are suitable for the job and another explaining what you think you could do for the employer. Finish with a quick summary and an indication that you are available for interview if required.  

Be clear and concise – research shows that most employers prefer cover letters between a half and one page long. Use proper paragraphs, check your spelling and grammar, and always proofread! 

The technical bit - use a simple, easy to read font no smaller than 10 points. Do not use Comic Sans, Word Art or other embellishments. If you have to send electronically convert your document to PDF first.   

You can find some useful examples of cover letters here:  

RecruitAbility has many years’ experience of helping people get back to work after a career break – if you are thinking about returning to the workplace we would love to hear from you. Call us on 01279 758855 to speak to one of our consultants.  

Posted on Wednesday Mar 13