How to Write a Cover Letter
A cover letters is an essential document that will capture a potential employer’s attention and set the scene for a good first impression. Although a covering letter could not replace the value of a strong CV, it can most definitely compliment your resume and make a weaker CV more robust.
1- Proper letter writing; Know how to lay out a letter. The Employers, title, name and address in the top right hand corner, your name and address left aligned below the address of the employer, the date right aligned underneath that, and then a greeting left aligned underneath that.
2- Choose your greeting carefully. Do you know the name of the employer or recruiting officer? If so, address it “Dear Mr/Mrs____”, if not, it should be addressed as accurately as possible i.e. “Dear Hiring Manager”.
3- Indent the first paragraph and inform the reader why you are writing to them. This should be a succinct couple of lines, closing with “please find attached my resume” (and any other documents, such as references, that may be of relevance).
4- In the letter body you should explain why you would like the position, why you are the right person for the position, and why you are attracted to this particular company. Use as emotive, yet professional, language as possible in order to convey your passion for this role. Using words such as “feel”, “passionate”, “believe”, “hope”, will encourage empathy with the reader.
5- Explain any weaknesses in your resume. Although you do not want to scream attention at any holes in your CV, if there is something that will be blatantly obvious to an employer, carefully address the issue explain why you don’t “feel” that it would be a problem. Use positive language to address holes in your CV i.e. write “Although I do not have a vast amount of formal experience with animals, I feel that my personal experience, drive and motivation should more than make up for this” rather than “You will see that I have little experience working with animals”. Close by stating how you mean to address the issue i.e. “I am soon to be taking up unpaid work experience at our local zoo in order to strengthen my application for this role”.
6- In the closing paragraph, re-iterate why you feel that you are perfect for this position and state how you are planning on following up the application i.e. are you going to come in and visit the manager in a couple of weeks to discuss the role further? Close by thanking the reader for their consideration and suggest that they could call or email you should they require any further information.
7- Sign off appropriately. If you knew the name of the employer, sign off with “yours sincerely”, if you did not know the name of your employer, sign off with “yours faithfully”.
8- Type your name, sign above it, and below it detail your email address and telephone number (remember regional dialling codes if appropriate).
Type your letter on a computer- it looks more professional and shows that you have word processing skills. Use a simple, clear type face such as Arial, Tahoma or Calibri, in no more than font 12 and no less than font 10 (the letter needs to fit on one page).
Spell check and proof read several times over!