How to write a covering letter

When applying for a job a cover letter should be sent or posted with your resume. Your cover letter should be specific to the position you are applying for, relating your skills and experience to those noted in the job posting. The cover letter should complement, not duplicate your resume and should help answer the question – Why should I hire you? It should grab the employer’s attention and point out why you, above all other applicants, should be contacted for a personal interview.

The cover letter should be addressed directly to the recruiter or manager responsible for this position. As with your CV it should be short and to the point, no more than a couple of paragraphs and should be structured as shown below;

1st Paragraph

– in no more than 2 or 3 sentences you want to explain why you are writing and which position you are applying for. State where you learned about the vacancy (internet page, newspaper, etc…) and why you are interested in this position and company.

2nd Paragraph

This is the “why I’m qualified” paragraph. Highlight some of your most relevant experiences and qualities as they relate to the position for which you are applying. Choose 2 – 3 points you want to make about Specific experiences/accomplishments or about general qualities you have exhibited, and provide Specific examples to support those points. This paragraph will change according to the job/employer for which you are applying. This is usually the longest paragraph of the letter. You may break this paragraph into two if it looks too lengthy or if your points work best in separate paragraphs.

Final Paragraph

This is a short 2-4 sentences paragraph. You should refer to the enclosed resume, make any closing comments and inform the reader that you would like to discuss the position further in an interview. If you have not listed your contact details at the head of the page you should add them here. Additionally it is vitally important that you thank the reader for his/her time and consideration.