Top tips for a covering letter

In most cases, a covering letter is the first chance you have to make an impression on a potential employer. Follow these top tips to impress!

  • Keep it brief - no longer than one side of an A4 page. Be succinct and don't waffle to fill up space. Three short paragraphs can often be enough. Remember that employers are busy and of you bury important information within rambling paragraphs, they're unlikely to spot it.
  • Don't repeat information from your CV. Use your cover letter to draw together your skills and experience with the requirements of this job. Use the job criteria to help you with this.
  • Make it specific. Never use the same cover letter to apply for different jobs - it will be obvious to the employer. Refer to the company specifically and state why you are interested in working with them.
  • Tailor your letter to the job criteria that's been advertised. Repeat key words and phrases and show how you have demonstrated these.
  • Avoid jargon - remember that it may be the HR department or a senior manager that deals with your application, and they may not be familiar with industry terms. Likewise, don't use abbreviations unless they are widely recognised.
  • Cut out vague statements (like 'I'm extremely hard working'). Unless you follow up with a good example, they're meaningless clichés.
  • Ask someone to proofread your cover letter. This is not just to check for errors, but to make sure that it reads well and conveys your message effectively.

Good luck!

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