How To Write An Outstanding Cover Letter
When you’re on the hunt for a new job, you’re likely to spend a lot of time polishing and perfecting your CV - but it’s very important not to overlook your cover letter.
Your cover letter is a one-page document that will be submitted alongside your CV and offers a brilliant opportunity for you to introduce yourself, showcase the value you can offer a company, and capture the attention of a potential employer.
83% of hiring managers claim that cover letters are important in their hiring decisions, meaning this document can make the difference between a successful application and a rejection.
While a CV contains functional details about your work experience and qualifications, a cover letter allows you to reveal more of your personality and motivations. In this guide, we’ll explain how you can write a clear and compelling cover letter, as well as provide you with a free template to use for your next application.
Start with the basic information
Before you start thinking about the main content of your cover letter, there’s some essential information you’ll need to include at the top of the page.
Always include a clear header that details your:
- Full name
- Phone number
- Business email address
- LinkedIn/website (optional)
You should also include the date you’re submitting the letter, as well as the details of the hiring manager & company you’re applying to. Contact information is key for follow-ups and questions, so always start with these basic details.
Write an introduction that hooks the reader
Hiring staff will be looking at a huge number of different cover letters during the recruitment process, so it’s vital that you find a way to stand out from rival applicants.
This is where your introduction is key.
A generic introduction will be easily forgettable and sets a bland tone for the rest of your application. Rather than just introducing your name and job title, use the opportunity to highlight some of your key selling points as a candidate.
For example, if you’re applying for a role as a HR administrator, you might briefly mention specific businesses you’ve worked with, onboarding systems you’ve implemented, and processes you’ve overseen.
The faster you can highlight your unique strengths and qualifications, the more likely you are to stand out in a pile of cover letters.
Prove why you’re a strong candidate (and be specific)
While a CV will contain a list of your relevant qualifications and experiences, a cover letter allows you to describe why you’re the right person for the job.
Be specific when you’re writing the main body of your cover letter. Rather than just mentioning the number of years you’ve worked in the industry, elaborate on the skills you’ve developed during this time.
Specifics are always more persuasive than vague statements, and this is a great opportunity to highlight your personality, fields of interest, and passion for the job.
You should also reference the job description as much as possible when crafting your cover letter.
Don’t just copy and paste the same content to multiple employers - look at each job posting, identify the key points mentioned, and tailor your cover letter accordingly.
If a business claims they’re searching for specific traits, skills, or qualifications in an employee, then make sure you’re proving how you can fulfil these requirements and deliver exactly what the company is looking for.
Finish with a professional conclusion
Finally, always wrap up your cover letter with a clear call to action and a formal conclusion.
Your call to action shouldn’t be too pushy or aggressive, but should just open the door for a hiring manager to get in touch. For example, it might look something like this:
“I’d love the opportunity to discuss how my experience as a financial controller at [company] can help you to strengthen your finance department and achieve your business goals.”
You should also thank the reader for the time, and use an appropriate sign-off (e.g. ‘Kind regards’) to finish the letter. A cover letter is a formal document, so you should make sure that you’re using professional language throughout.
Our free cover letter template
Your cover letter provides you with a fantastic opportunity to spark the interest of a hiring manager and separate yourself from other applicants.
If you’d like assistance with writing your next cover letter, or expert guidance on the job application process, our recruitment team can offer support. At Barclay Meade, we help skilled candidates to discover and secure sought-after positions with established clients.