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:
Open the letter by stating the reason you are writing to the organisation mentioning the job you are applying for in bold and the organisation name underlined, where and when you heard about / seen the job advertised and what you are enclosing / attaching to it
Summarise your career history experience with a short introduction and your relevant job titles in bold bullet pointed
Summarize your employment history experience with a short introduction and your relevant job titles in bold bullet pointed
Summarize your education, qualifications and training courses with a short introduction in bullet points
Write a five-seven line paragraph summarizing what you can specifically do for them using words / statements from the organisations job advertisement, job description and / or website
List your relevant experiences and competencies as outlined in the job advertisement, job description and / or website in italic bullet pointed.
Close the letter by summarizing your relevant skills, assuring the organisation of your abilities to do the job and to meet their needs, their requirements and expectations stating job title in bold and organisation name underlined and that you look forward to hearing from them.
I mentioned earlier about how a CL is sometimes used incorrectly and sometimes not used when it should be used. A CL is sometimes used incorrectly by;
- Sending it to a recruitment agency – most, if not all recruitment agencies only require your CV. The CL is not sent to their client organisation, unless you tell them to. But tailoring is difficult as you usually do not know the name of the organisation that your CV will be sent to. Initially you would send a recruitment agency a generic CV tailored around you experience and qualifications, though asking the recruitment agency for the field of industry that the organisation is in can be helpful to you in tailoring your CV further.
A CL is sometimes not used when it should be:
Sending your CL instead of a CV to prospective organisations that are not advertising is something that job hunters do not consider doing. A CV should only be sent to an organisation when they request it or when they have a job open. If an organisation receives
- CV\’s that have not been requested, they are immediately filed away or discarded. Should they receive a CL personally addressed to them (who by the way should be the decision-maker), it could still end up being discarded, but they will definitely read it.
Impress prospective employers with a great Cover Letter…