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The One Page Covering Letter

29th May 2014

I can’t stress enough to you the importance of a good covering letter. Let’s begin by taking a moment to consider the start of the hiring process.

The person reading your letter (and that could be either a recruiter, hiring manager or an HR Professional), may be reviewing hundreds of CV’s and you are going to get about 30 seconds (at most), to ensure that the hirer remembers you and short lists your CV.
Your covering letter is therefore setting the tone of your application, so make sure you make the very best impression you can.
Here are some suggestions on structure and content for letter:-

1st paragraph

Your 1st paragraph should explain the purpose of your letter. It should be clear and concise and may read:
‘I would like to be considered for the position of ‘XYZ advertised on/in (here you could name the source of the advertisement)’.

2nd paragraph

Clearly state why you feel you are suitable for the role. Briefly outline your work experience and academic qualifications and your relevant skills. Do not be tempted to add lots of information here that is not relevant to the role. Only mention skills which are relevant to this particular role.
Yes, you do need a specific covering letter for each application. Specific applications are written by people who REALLY want that job!

3rd paragraph

Outline your career goal, ideally making it relevant to the position you’re applying for, and expand on the pertinent points in your CV. Let the hirer know what you could bring to their company. Don’t turn it into “War and Peace”, it simply won’t get read.

Final paragraph

This is your opportunity to reiterate your interest in and suitability to the role and your availability for interview.
To summarise; keep it brief, keep it concise and make it relevant to each recipient you send your CV to.
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