A good cover letter will get your CV or application form noticed. Follow our guide on how to write an effective cover letter.
A cover letter introduces you to an employer and asks them to think about your application. It’s a short letter - 3 to 5 paragraphs - that you should send with your CV or application form. Write it as an email if you’re applying online or print off a typed copy to go with a paper application.
When you apply for a job using a CV or application form you should always include a cover letter.
Check the company’s website to learn more about their products and services. Also, look up recent news items about them. If you know someone who works there, talk to them about what it’s like. Check our advice on networking for more help on this.
Check you have the details of the person you need to send your letter to. You'll need their name and preferred title, for example; Dr, Mr, Mrs, Ms, and their job title. You should also have the right company name and address including a postcode.
It's important to try to address your letter to someone by name. If the job advert does not include a name you can check the company website. Try to find details of the head of the department, head of human resources or a recruitment manager. If you cannot find a name, you can start your letter with, ‘Dear Sir or Madam’.
Introduce yourself and explain how you found the advertised job. You can mention the job title, and reference number if there is one. If you’re asking about possible job openings rather than an actual vacancy, tell them the kind of job you’re looking for. Let the employer see how keen you are to work for them.
Show that you understand what the employer is looking for by highlighting the skills and experience you have that match what they want. Convince them that you're enthusiastic about working for them because you share their work values, culture and style.
If you’ve mentioned on your CV that you have a disability, you might want to talk more about this in your cover letter. Organisations like Disability UK can give you advice on how to do this. You do not have to mention your disability at this stage if you prefer not to.
If you have gaps in your employment history, you could talk about the skills you gained while you were out of work.
Thank the employer for considering your application. Invite them to get more details from your CV. Tell them you're looking forward to hearing from them and let them know how you prefer to be contacted, for example by telephone, email or post. Make sure your contact details are correct on both your cover letter and CV.
If you’ve written to a named person remember to sign off with ‘Yours sincerely’. If you started your letter, ‘Dear Sir or Madam’, then it’s ‘Yours faithfully’. Remember to send your CV as an attachment if you’re applying by email. Enclose a copy of your printed CV if you are making an application by post.
When writing your cover letter, remember to: