Once you have updated your cover letter you can book an appointment with a Careers Advisor who will give you detailed feedback. Log in to MyCareerPath and book an appointment for a time that suits you.
Where to start?
- Make a list of what the employer wants (using the job ad, company website etc.) and think how you can match their requirements
- What requirements are highlighted in the job spec? You can briefly reflect on these in your letter.
- Think beyond the job spec; what else can you offer them?
- If there was no advertisement, then work out for yourself what the employer wants. Look on their website or LinkedIn page, or talk to someone in the company.
Basic format of a cover letter
Why are you writing to the employer?
You will usually be writing in response to an advertised vacancy but you may also be taking a speculative approach. If you are applying for an advertised job, you should state where you saw the advertisement and quote any reference numbers. If you are making a speculative application, be very clear about the type of role you are interested in.
Why do you want this type of work and why are you interested in this employer?
Highlight why you are interested in this job/employer. Include information that shows you have done some research and understand what the company does and what the job might involve.
What are you offering the employer?
Highlight relevant aspects of your skills, knowledge and experience. If the advert listed certain essential requirements, then draw brief attention to how you meet these. What is your key strength in relation to the position? Cross-referring to your CV can be useful: 'You will see from my CV that I ...'
When are you available for interview?
Note any dates in the near future that you absolutely cannot make for an interview. Although many companies will have fixed the day in advance, some may interview on more than one day or be flexible for a very strong candidate.
Cover letter tips
- Try to send your cover letter to a named person rather than using 'Dear Sir or Madam'. The HR department should be able to provide a name, title (e.g. Ms, Dr) and job title.
- Apply the 20-second rule. Any paragraph that takes longer than 20 seconds to read is too long. Keep your sentences and your paragraphs short and snappy.
- Avoid patterns, pictures and borders.
- Keep a copy of your letter for reference.