Writing a cover letter
A cover letter should draw together all the facts in your CV and communicate your enthusiasm for the position. The letter must be well presented and produced on plain paper using black ink as this produces a clear photocopy. Ideally the letter should be typed but above all the letter should be brief and concise.
Your cover letter should be:
- a letter to introduce yourself
- inclusive of your contact details (address, email and telephone)
- used to register your interest in a specific vacancy
- used to highlight your relevant qualifications
- convincing so the employer is encouraged to offer you an interview
- kept brief and concise
- written in a clear, easy to read font, eg arial or times new roman, size 12
- tailored to each job you apply for
- printed on plain paper using black ink
- set out as a formal business letter (see downloadable covering letter below)
Once you have written your cover letter, don't simply rely on spell check to check it for you - ask at least one person to read it through, before sending it off.
Example cover letter
Writing a speculative letter
When writing a letter to enquire about possible vacancies (known as a speculative letter), the same rules apply as above. You will also need to:
- state the position(s) you are interested in on the subject line of the letter / email (see download example below)
- ensure you have researched the organisation you are applying to and refer to reasons as to why you would like to work for them
Be sure to follow up on your speculative letter, around one week later, with a phone call or email to check that the relevant person has received it. Ask whether they would meet with you to discuss future job opportunities and ways of gaining work or further experience in this area.
Example speculative letter