Top of the page

The Importance of a Good Covering Letter

Category: Tips and Advice

The Importance of a Good Covering Letter First impressions count! How often have you heard that phrase, especially in your resettlement? Given that we know this to be true it is alarming how many people do not take the time to carefully craft a covering letter that will complement and enhance the CV and intrigue the employer enough to invite you to an interview. For a recruiter, someone who doesn’t take the time to write a good covering letter is someone who doesn’t care about this opportunity.

Here are some simple tips to help you create a covering letter that recruiters will want to read:

  • Include a method of contact at the top of the document – whether that’s your address or email.
  • If you do have a named person to write to please do so, otherwise ‘Dear Sir/Madam’ is acceptable.
  • Clearly state where you saw the advert, e.g. I am applying to the position of Project Manager, as seen on CTP RightJob, reference N12345.
  • Explain why you are interested in the opportunity and the company.
  • Write in full sentences; do not use ‘texts speak’, e.g. pls c attchd CV. Rgds. (this has happened!)
  • Use the job advert and/or person specification to structure your letter; this will help you ensure you are addressing the requirements of the role.
  • Use the STAR (Situation, Task, Action, Result) or CAR (Challenge, Action, Result) format to help you write clear examples of how you meet the criteria for the job. Doing this will also help you prepare for an interview.
  • Avoid bland, generic statements such as, “I have good communication skills”. Writing statements which demonstrate your broad range of communications skills, such as “providing instruction and training to colleagues; providing written and verbal reports to senior colleagues as well as representing the organisation through telephone and email conversations with internal and external stakeholders”, clearly explains what your communication skills are.
  • Don’t waffle! Keep to the point and focus on the essential information you want the recruiter to know about how you match the requirements of the job.
  • Check your spelling and grammar. This is incredibly important as employers will judge you on these. For some people, this can seem unfair but it is important for an employer to know that you can communicate effectively and utilise computer software to check for any errors.

Whilst writing a good covering letter can be a time-consuming exercise initially, it is important to remember that by being thorough at this point, you are making it easier for yourself to prepare for interview and you will also be able to utilise some of the paragraphs for other covering letters.

You will hear that not all companies read these covering letters; this is true, but you can’t always be sure so it is always best to send a targeted CV and Covering letter. Make sure you use your CTW workbook for more great information about creating excellent applications and if you have any questions or want to get an opinion on your application before you submit it, you can always contact your CTP Consultant.