Cover letters

Make an employer sit up and pay attention with a well-written cover letter. Find out how with our guide.

What's a cover letter?

Sent along with your CV or application when you apply for a job, a cover letter is a chance to introduce yourself and showcase your personality. 

It's where you can describe in more detail:

  • Who you are
  • What you're like
  • What you can bring to the role

It's chance to sell yourself as the person who's right for the job. 

We know it can be difficult to write about yourself, so we've got some tips to help you start telling your story. 

 

 

Example CVs and cover letters

Not sure where to begin? Take a look at these example pages for an idea on how to get started. 

If you've got a degree but aren't quite sure how to apply for a graduate job - we can help. 

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Planning a big change? This example content can help you apply for a job in a new industry. 

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If you've been out of the working world for a while, it can be hard to see how to get back in. This example will help you tailor your cover letter. 

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When you've just left school, it's unlikely you've ever had to write a cover letter. Take direction from this example copy.

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Getting prepared

There’s no one-size-fits-all job cover letter.

Every employer and industry is different - and that's why personalising yours to fit each application is important. 

The first thing to do is examine the job advert, and think about how you can insert what they're asking you into your cover letter. 

Essential skills

Are they looking for communication skills? Do they need you to be great at maths? Do they want a good people manager?

Experience

Which qualifications and work experience have they asked for? 

​​​​​​​Personal qualities

Have they mentioned things like being good with people or ambitious? Be sure to highlight these qualities

Information on the company

You could also check their website and social media accounts.

These details help you tailor your cover letter, so that you stand out. 

When you start writing, highlight some of the skills and experience that they’ve mentioned to show how you fit the bill.

Think about what you can tell them about yourself – which parts of your career so far will they be most interested in?

Five things to think about before you send:

1
Length

It shouldn't be longer than a page. Keep it short, snappy and straight to the point. 

2
Who it's for

Address your cover letter to the person handling the job vacancy. If you don't know their name, try to use the correct job title.

3
Spelling and grammar

Don't send something with mistakes. Spell-check before you send and get a friend to read it over, too.

4
What's appropriate?

Don't include your age, religion, sexuality or political affiliation. And there's no need to add a photo or your National Insurance number.

5
Honesty

If you've lied, you'll be found out at the interview. Don't risk it. 

The perfect layout

What goes where? Find out with our cover letter template tutorial.