Business Writing Tip #197—Tips for Writing Job Application Cover Letters

When you’re applying for a job, you’ll usually send in a CV (or resumé) and a covering letter. In this post we’ll look at some things to consider when you’re preparing your cover letter.Dreamjob sign

Tailor it to the Individual/Company

Whenever possible, address the individual you are writing to by name. You might need to phone the company and ask for the recruitment manager’s name. Simply writing “Dear Sir or Madam”, or something similar, is a lazy approach that suggests that you weren’t interested enough to find out who you are writing to. If, in spite of all your efforts, you can’t find the name, the best approach is probably to write “Dear Hiring Manager”.

Also, make sure that whatever you write in your cover letter relates to the job in question. Avoid using a one-size-fits-all letter.

Explain your reason for writing

Remember to include your purpose. If you are writing in response to an advertised vacancy, include the details of when and where you saw the job advertised. If you are writing to find out if there is a chance of a job, be clear and specific about the type of work you are looking for.

Explain why you are suitable for the job

Make brief statements about your relevant skills and experience, highlight your strengths, and expand on your CV, rather than merely repeat information. Mention specific aspects of your strengths, including significant details.

Explain why you are interested in working for that company

Show that you know something about the company and its reputation, and clearly indicate how you will add value. Tell them what you can do for them (not what the company can do for you). Highlight experience that supports your claim.

Tell the Hiring Manager how they can contact you

Include a brief paragraph referring to a possible follow-up and letting the company know the best way to contact you.

Sign off

If you have addressed the letter to a name (e.g. Dear Ms Whyte), end the letter with “Yours sincerely”. If you started with Dear Madam/Sir, or Dear Hiring Manager, then end with either “Yours faithfully” or “Yours truly”.


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