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Basic Cover Letter For Cv

If you’re starting a job search in 2018, getting your cover letter right is just as important as perfecting your CV.

After hours spent crafting your CV, it can seem a little superfluous to transfer the information into letter format. However, your cover letter shouldn’t be a regurgitation of your CV. Instead, it should zoom in on a few key skills and experiences on your CV that the employer values the most. As a result, your cover letter should be bespoke for every application.

Some recruiters may receive hundreds of applications a day, so your cover letter gives you a chance to stand out from the crowd. With 57.1% of professionals ranking the cover letter as an essential application component, you can’t afford to leave it out.

We know that writing these letters can seem daunting at first, especially as it can feel like there’s a lot to remember. To help, we’ve put together a comprehensive guide to building your cover letter and tailoring it for each opportunity you apply to.

Download our cover letter template

Do your research

Research is a crucial part of many aspects of job hunting, and before you begin writing your cover letter, you need to make sure you’ve done your research properly.

The important things you should research before writing are:

  • Who will be receiving and reading your letter
  • The skills and experience mentioned in the job description
  • The company and its culture
  • Their competitors and market position
  • The sector and any recent news or trends
  • The organisation’s aims for 2018 and beyond

Building up a good knowledge of the company and industry helps you to tailor your cover letter for each company you apply to, and shows your passion for the job and sector.

The basic format

There’s a basic format for writing a cover letter that you can follow each time. However, every letter you write should be tailored to the specific job role or company you’re applying for.

Your cover letter should address the following:

  • Which position interests you and why
  • Your most relevant skills and experiences
  • How your skills and experiences can benefit the employer
  • Requesting an interview

Below is a basic break down of how you should structure your cover letter for 2018:

How to structure and write a cover letter

In 2018, it’s very rare for cover letters to be hard copies as most are sent online. However, traditional cover letter conventions state that your cover letter should be written like any other formal business letter, even if you’re emailing it.

Start with your address and contact details in the top right-hand corner. Make sure your contact details are sensible – email addresses like ninjawarrior2000@hotmail.co.uk won’t make you look very professional!  You should then follow this with the address of the company you’re applying for and the date further down and on the left-hand side.

[Address Line 1]

[Address Line 2]

[Address Line 3]

[Phone Number]

[Company address line 1]

[Company address line 2]

[Date]

To [Name],

Paragraph 1:

Your opening paragraph should be short and sweet made up of three things: why you’re writing the letter, the position you’re applying for, how you found out about the position. For example: “I am writing to apply for the role of [job title], in response to an advert I saw on [name of job site]. Please find my CV attached.”

Paragraph 2:

The second paragraph should be about you, expanding on your CV and giving a brief summary of any relevant skills or education you have. Remember, your cover letter shouldn’t be a copy of your CV; it should take your most notable achievements, explain a bit more about them, and then show how these skills could benefit the employer. Mirror the skills mentioned and the phrasing that’s used in the job description.

Paragraph 3:

The third paragraph is your chance to show your knowledge of the company and the sector and go into detail about why you want to work for their company specifically. You should state how you can help the company and add to their success, as well as why you’ll fit in with the company culture and core values.

Paragraph 4:

End your letter with a call to action. As you’re hoping to secure an interview, let them know your availability for a callback. If you plan to follow up with a phone call, say so! If you plan to wait for a response, close with “I look forward to hearing from you”. Thank them for taking the time to read your letter and sign off with:

Yours sincerely,

[Your Name]

Download our cover letter template

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Sending a cover letter online

With today’s technology, it’s common to send a cover letter – and a whole job application, for that matter – online or by email. This is especially common on job boards like CV-Library, and even with direct employers. If you need to send a cover letter online or via email, the approach you should take is a little different in terms of formatting.

If you just need to send your cover letter as an attachment, then write it as explained before. When it comes to saving it, make sure you use the .PDF file extension; any computer will be able to view the file, and all your formatting will be preserved.

Windows PCs use the .docx file extension for documents by default, whereas Macs use .pages. Avoid either of these, because there’s a chance that the employer won’t be able to open your cover letter. Stick with .PDF.

If you need to send your cover letter as the actual body text of your email, your approach will need to be slightly different. First, make sure you format the subject line of your email like so:

Application for [Job Title] – [Your Name]

If you were given a reference number, include that in the subject line as well. Once you’ve done that, it’s time to think about the layout of your letter. The paragraphs can be the same as a hard copy of your cover letter, but you can remove the addresses, date and signature.

If you’re applying for a job via a job board, you can sometimes afford to scale down your cover letter to key components. Check out this cover letter template for 2018:

Hi [Name],

I am interested in applying for the current vacancy you have for a [job title].

In my current role as [role title] with [company name], I am responsible for [insert relevant experience relating to job advert] but am currently looking to make a step up into a more challenging role with a reputable company who can offer career growth.

I am currently on a notice period of [notice period] and can interview immediately.

Kind regards,

[Name]

[Phone number]

[Email]

How long should my cover letter be?

Your cover letter should be no longer than a single A4 page. This can be tricky, especially since you want to impress the employer with all your skills and experience. But trust us; they simply won’t be interested in reading a 3,000-word essay. Even if they were, they probably just wouldn’t have the time! Keep it short, sweet, and simple.

Tailoring each cover letter

Each cover letter you write should be tailored specifically to the company and role you’re writing it for and should be detailed. Therefore you’ll want to avoid vague and generic phrases.

During the research stage, try to find the name of the hiring manager or whoever will be reading your letter. This way you can make the letter even more personal, and it will prove you’re a determined candidate who wants this job.

If you really can’t get hold of their name, you should instead start the letter with “Dear Sir or Madam” – but remember, if you don’t know their name, ensure you sign off your letter with “Yours faithfully” instead.

Read the job description so you can pick which of your skills or experiences to reference, and try to mirror some of the phrases they use in the job description. Illustrate your skills with examples to show why you’re the ideal candidate; as each company and role will be different, you’ll probably find that you’re using different examples on each letter.

Having done your research, you should also be able to talk specifically about the company in greater detail. Refer to their values or specific campaigns they have run that you enjoyed. This way they’ll know that you took the time to learn about their company and that you’re genuinely interested in them and the role.

When there’s no job advertised

If you haven’t seen an advertised position, but you’re contacting a company to find out if they currently have any vacancies, the format will be slightly different as you’ll be submitting a cold-contact cover letter.

You should address the letter formally as before, and try to get hold of the name of the hiring manager.

As you aren’t responding to a job ad, you should use your opening paragraph to explain why you’re writing to them and what it was that drew you to their company. If the reason for your application is a recommendation from someone, you know that already works there include their name.

You should also refer to the area of the company that you’d like to go into, for example, marketing or sales.

The body of the letter should remain relatively the same, highlighting your skills and experiences and giving detailed examples. Reiterate why you’re interested in their company specifically, talk about the sector and show that you’ve done your research.

In this instance, you should close the letter by thanking them for their time and expressing your interest in hearing from them with any available job vacancies that they may have.

Remember, each cover letter should be unique (even if you follow the basic format), and the aim is to make yourself stand out to recruiters. Follow these steps to writing your cover letter, and try to have fun with it!

Marketing yourself

In both your CV and your cover letter you should try to imagine yourself as a commodity and sell yourself to the company. There are several ways you can market yourself, and most of this will come from your research.

You need to demonstrate your knowledge of the company and the sector so that you can effectively explain why you’ll be beneficial to their company. As well as listing your skills and qualifications you could also demonstrate your interpersonal skills through talking about social activities and clubs.

All these aspects should help you build a case for why you’re going to add to the success of the company.

Top tips for success in 2018

Follow these cover letter tips for success to make sure you avoid making some fatal cover letter mistakes.

1. Keep it short

It may seem difficult with so much information to include, but you need to keep your cover letter short and sweet. Recruiters will give each letter about 20 to 30 seconds of their time, so it should be no more than an A4 page – they won’t trawl through ten pages, no matter how experienced and skilled you are.

2. Don’t just re-write your CV

The point of a cover letter is to expand upon your CV, not just re-write it—your CV should be attached to accompany your letter. Make sure you pick the most relevant examples and give details of your achievements.

3. Sign by hand

If you’re sending the letter in the post (old school, we know) then you should sign the letter by hand before you send it off—it adds a personal and more professional touch.

4. Sending online

Macs and PCs haven’t quite learnt to work in total harmony yet, and the last thing you want is the recruiter being unable to open your document. Instead, save your final CV as a pdf file; that way you know they’ll be able to open it on any device.

5. Proofread

Once you’ve written your letter, check it over for mistakes and perhaps even have someone else read it over too. Recruiters aren’t going to take you seriously if you’ve made silly spelling or grammar mistakes.

6. Avoid clichés

Each letter should be personal, so avoid clichéd phrases that recruiters have read a thousand times! Don’t just say “I’m a team player”, these buzzwords and phrases won’t make you stand out. Instead, choose an example of when you worked well in a team and explain what happened and what you achieved.

7. Use numbers

If you can, use numbers or stats to illustrate your points as it’s a nice way to quantify your results and adds to the format of the letter.

8. Be creative

Writing cover letters doesn’t have to be boring; you can be a bit creative in your approach – especially if you’re going into a creative industry or job role. Play around with layouts and formats; as long as all the important information is in there and the layout isn’t distracting, have fun with it!

9. Use bullet points

This is not always necessary, but depending on the format you’ve chosen or the job role you’re applying for, bullet points could be an effective way of demonstrating your points and adding to the layout.

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Good Basic Cover Letter

This basic cover letter can be adapted for just about any job search situation.

We show you how to put together a straightforward and convincing cover letter, how to effectively communicate your relevant skills and competencies for the job and how to make sure your resume gets read.

A resume without a cover letter often gets no further than the trash can. Show your interest and enthusiasm for the job opportunity by taking the time to write a good cover letter.

Follow the guidelines and use the sample letter to get the right message across.

The Cover Letter Checklist

  • Always address the letter to an individual by his or her name. Do not send it to the "Hiring Manager" or "To Whom It May Concern". Contact the company and find out who the cover letter should be addressed to.
  • Clearly establish why you are writing the cover letter in your opening sentences - the position you are applying for and why you are applying.
  • Express enthusiasm and confidence that you are a suitable candidate in your introduction.
  • Highlight your competencies and summarize why you are the right person for the job.
  • Close the cover letter with a proactive request for an interview, meeting or follow-up.

What competencies should I focus on?

There are a number of competencies that are recognized as key to successful performance in nearly all job fields. The employer will be looking for evidence of these competencies in your basic cover letter.

The likelihood is that you already possess and use these skills in your professional life. Go through each of these 6 key competencies and think of an example of how you use that particular behavior or competency in your work.

Communication skills - able to express your ideas clearly, able to listen actively, able to follow instructions properly and give information appropriately.

Teamwork - able to work together with others to reach a goal. Co-operative and willing to put the team's success above personal success.

Problem-solving - able to collect and analyze information to identify problems and come up with possible solutions.

Planning and organizing - able to plan and prioritize work tasks to achieve the necessary outcomes.

Integrity - honesty, respect for others, reliability, maintain confidentiality, fulfill your commitments and adhere to company policies.

Motivation - this includes energy, hard work and enthusiasm for the job. A willingness to put in extra hours and go the extra mile.

It is important to communicate these competencies to the employer in your cover letter. Remember that these behaviors apply to virtually any job situation and can be used in any basic cover letter. Emphasize those competencies that are indicated in the job posting.

You can view other key competencies that may apply to your particular job at 12 core competencies for all jobs.

Sample Basic Cover Letter

Your Name
Your Address
Your Contact details (phone and email)

Date

Contact Name
Contact Job Title
Company Name
Company Address

Dear Mr/Mrs/Ms Last Name

I was excited to see your opening for an Administrative Assistant on the XYZ job website. I am confident that my background and abilities are an excellent match for the job. Please allow me to highlight my skills and competencies as they relate to your job requirements.

  • X years wide-ranging experience as an administrative assistant in a fast-paced work environment
  • proven computer skills with an in-depth knowledge of MS Word, Excel and Powerpoint
  • excellent verbal and written communication skills used to successfully develop presentations, write reports and draft correspondence
  • recognized as a resourceful problem-solver who is able to efficiently collect and analyze information to find workable solutions
  • strong organizational and planning skills ensure that I am able to accurately and consistently meet multiple project deadlines
  • a hard worker who has built confidence and trust at all levels
  • a committed team member who is known to go the extra mile

I firmly believe that I can make a positive contribution to your company and I have enclosed my resume to provide more information on my skills and experience. I would welcome the opportunity to meet with you for an in-depth discussion and I will make myself available at your first convenience.

Thank you for you review and consideration. I look forward to hearing from you soon.

Sincerely

Joan Jobseeker
Enclosure

Basic Cover Letter 2

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