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How to Write a Covering Letter When Applying for Jobs.

Updated on September 5, 2019
Beth Pipe profile image

I've been coaching people through the job application process for 25 years. Here's how to nail your covering letter.

How to write a covering letter

When applying for jobs many people are stuck as to what to put into their covering letter or email. In this article I will show you what to put in a covering letter or email for a specific job application as well as what to include in a covering letter or email for a speculative job application.

In my many years dealing with job applicants I have seen a wide variety of covering letters, some excellent and others doing more harm than good. Below are some useful guidelines to follow as well as some examples of covering letters you can use.


Covering letter for a specific job.

Below is an example of a covering letter you could use when applying for a specific job. This is just an example and obviously you can create your own, but if you do please bear the following in mind:

  1. Do NOT be tempted to regurgitate your CV.
  2. Tell them where and when you saw the job advertised.
  3. State your current or most recent position.
  4. Pick out 3 key things which are particularly relevant to the job they are advertising.
  5. Be confident and ask for an opportunity to meet with them
  6. Whether you are sending a letter or an email make sure you lay it out appropriately and close correctly ("Yours faithfully" if you opened with "Dear Sir" and "Yours sincerely" if you opened with "Dear Mr/ Ms")
  7. Keep it short and to the point.



Example letter.

Ref: Asssistant

Dear Mr Blogs,

Please find enclosed a copy of my CV for consideration for the position of Assistant as found in the Reading Gazette on 2/2/12.

As you can see from my enclosed CV my most recent employment was with / I am currently employed by Smith and Son where I was/ am an Assistant responsible for XX employees.

I believe I would be suitable for position for the following reasons:

  • I have experience of X gained at Y
  • Whilst at Bloggs & Co I was responsible for X and Y
  • I am familiar with working within the XXXx environment

I am confident that I would make a valuable contribution to your organisation and would very much welcome the opportunity to discuss my application further.

I look forward to hearing from you in the near future.

Yours sincerely,

Belinda Bloggs

Enc.


Covering letter for a speculative job application.

In the current climate organisations will be receiving a lot of these, but that doesn't necessarily mean you shouldn't try, as Wayne Gretzky put it "You miss 100% of the shots you don't take." It's important to make sure your letter and CV stand out from everyone else's. Here's a few things to bear in mind:

  1. Wherever possible locate the name of the appropriate person to send it to. Think about the mail you receive, you're more likely to read something addressed to you specifically than "Dear Sir/ Madam".
  2. Make it clear that you know something about the organisation.
  3. State why you would like to work for them and what skills you will bring.
  4. Make sure they recruit for and employ people with your skills.
  5. Give them permission to keep your details on file.



Example letter

Ref: Asssistant

Dear Mr Blogs,

Please find enclosed a copy of my CV for consideration for the position of Assistant within your media and marketing team. I have long been an admirer of your products, in particular the Bloggs 9000, and I am aware of your excellent reputation and commitment to customer service. I also notice from the "Blogs Marketing Gazette that you have recently been awarded the contract to supply widgets for the new Smith-o-matic 980.

As you can see from my enclosed CV my most recent employment was with / I am currently employed by Smith and Son where I was/ am a Media Assistant responsible for XX employees.

I believe I would be suitable for position for the following reasons:

  • I have experience of X gained at Y
  • Whilst at Bloggs & Co I was responsible for lots of assisting
  • I am familiar with working within the XXXx environment

I appreciate you may not be looking to recruit immediately, however I am confident that I would make a valuable contribution to your organisation and would very much welcome the opportunity to discuss my application further. I am also happy for you to retain my details on your files until such time as an appropriate vacancy arises.

I look forward to hearing from you in the near future.

Yours sincerely,

Belinda Bloggs

Enc.


Include voluntary work

How to deal with periods of unemployment

Don't panic if you haven't worked for a while, sadly it's an all too common thing in the current climate. Don't try to fudge dates to cover it up, instead be clear about what you've been doing and include a paragraph along the lines of...

"Though I have been out of work for 6 months now I have put the time to good use by undertaking voluntary work with XXX, which has been a valuable experience and has helped me to further develop my customer service skills. I have also used the time to improve my PC skills and have undertaken informal courses for both Word and Excel."


Best of luck!

Good luck!

Loads of luck with your job hunting. It's a tough and demoralising process but if you hang in there it will all come good in the end.

Below are some other hubs I've written which you may also find useful.

This article is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge. Content is for informational or entertainment purposes only and does not substitute for personal counsel or professional advice in business, financial, legal, or technical matters.

© 2012 Beth Pipe

Comments

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    • feenix profile image

      feenix 

      9 years ago

      Hello, Beth,

      This is a useful, interesting and very informative hub. In fact, even though I am an old hand at preparing cover letters, I learned a few things from this article.

      By writing and publishing this post, you have performed a very valuable public service -- because many people are out there doing their best to land jobs.

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