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How to write a great cover letter

A great cover letter can be crucial to your job application. Here are some of our main tips on how to write a cover letter that will get you noticed.

How to layout a cover letter

When you write a cover letter, it should be around 300 words long and it should never be more than one page of A4.

We would recommend using an easy to read font such as Arial, Calibri or Verdana and the font size should be between 10 or 12.

Key information that should be included in your header

  • Name (first name and last name)
  • Current job title (optional)
  • Email address
  • Mobile phone number
  • LinkedIn URL (optional)
  • Online portfolio URL (optional)
  • Job title of the role you are applying for
  • Date you are submitting your application

Start your cover letter with a polite greeting

You would normally address your cover letter to the hiring manager.

If you know the name of the person you are writing to, follow the format below:

  • ‘Dear’
  • An honorific (such as Mr, Ms, Professor)
  • Their surname
  • A comma

Example:

Dear Mr Sharp,

If you can’t find the name of the person who will receive the cover letter, use the format below instead.

Example:

Dear Sir/Madam

Make an impact in your first paragraph

Start your cover letter with a bang so you give a good reason for the hiring manager to read on.

You need to make sure that your opening statement is compelling to really stand out from the crowd.

Second paragraph: Highlight your skills and experience

Once you have written an attention-grabbing opening, in the second paragraph explain why you would be the best candidate for the role.

Clearly outline the skills and experience you have that match the job description.

Use this paragraph to highlight your relevant skills and experience so the hiring manager can see why you would be a great fit for the role.

Third paragraph: Example of how you would fit their company culture

Every company has a company culture and their own personal goals and mission. Show the hiring manager you have done your research. Use an example from your past employment, education, or include your personality traits to demonstrate how you would fit into their company culture. Hiring managers are looking for candidates that not only have the right skill set, but they need to be the right fit for the company too.

Closing paragraph: ‘thank you’

In your last paragraph, simply thank the hiring manager for taking the time to consider your application.

There is no need to say again how keen you are as this should have already come across clearly in your previous points.

Your closing statement is just to show that you are a polite and thoughtful person.

Polite sign off

Sign off your cover letter in a professional and friendly manner with ‘yours faithfully’ or ‘yours sincerely’ and use your first name only, not your surname.

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