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How to write an impactful cover letter

Find out all you need to know about cover letters in our expert guide.

What is a cover letter?

A cover letter is a document you send with your CV to introduce yourself to an employer. It’s often their first impression of you. Use this to highlight certain parts of your CV and show your enthusiasm for the role.

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Six tips to write a winning cover letter

Here are some top tips from Ainsley, a careers adviser at Skills Development Scotland.

  1. Write a new cover letter for each application

Your cover letter should be specific to the role and the company. Check the job description for keywords and phrases. 

2. Speak about the company

Your priority is to show how you fit the role. But you must also convince the employer you’ll fit into the company. Research the company and describe how its goals and values align with yours. 

3. Address it to someone.

‘Dear Sir/Madam’ works fine. But using the recruiter’s name shows you’ve been thorough with your research. 

4. Keep it to one page

If you write too much, an employer may lose interest in what you’re saying. Instead, be short, concise and straight to the point. Never exceed one page. 

5. Spelling and grammar

Don’t risk making a poor impression through careless spelling and grammar mistakes. Spell check everything before you send it and have someone you trust read over it too. 

6. Nail your overall impression

When you re-read your letter, ask yourself, ‘Will an employer see my potential?’. Does your cover letter highlight your best skills and personal qualities?