How to Structure Your Cover Letter

Table of contents

    The Covering Letter (CL) is probably as important as your Curriculum Vitae (CV), when it comes to applying for a job. It is a document that is sometimes used incorrectly and sometimes not used when it should be used. It is always one page, a full page, preferably sent to an actual person and contains up to seven paragraphs. Key to a good CL is that it is always tailored around the job being applied for and the organisation/department being applied to.

    Below are the seven paragraphs outlined for a great CL:

    The opening act

    Start by clearly stating your purpose – the job you’re applying for, emboldened, and the organisation’s name underscored. Mention where and when you stumbled upon the job ad and what you’re including with the letter.

    Career snapshot

    Summarise your career trajectory concisely. Use bullet points to highlight relevant job titles, showcasing your professional journey.

    Employment chronicle

    Continue with a brief summary of your employment history, also in bullet points. Highlight roles that are directly applicable to the job you’re vying for.

    Educational endeavours

    Present your educational background in a nutshell. List your qualifications and any pertinent training courses, keeping it punchy and informative.

    Tailored pitch

    Craft a compelling paragraph tailored specifically to the organisation and the job role. Draw from their job advertisement, description, and website, articulating precisely what you bring to the table.

    Competency showcase

    Enumerate your relevant experiences and competencies, aligning them with the job’s requirements. Use italicised bullet points for clarity and emphasis.

    Closing flourish

    Seal the letter with a summary of your skills and a confident assertion of your suitability for the role. Reiterate the job title, organisation name, and express eagerness for further dialogue.

    It’s worth noting common pitfalls: sending CLs to recruitment agencies, where a CV suffices, and neglecting to send a CL when it’s warranted. Surprisingly, sending a well-crafted CL to prospective organisations not actively hiring can significantly boost your chances.

    Make your Cover Letter a compelling narrative of your professional journey, tailored meticulously to the job and organisation. It’s your ticket to standing out in the job market.

    Happy job hunting!

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