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Job Applications: Writing a Cover Letter


cover letter

Your job applications cover letter is just as important as your CV

. It is where you show that you meet the qualities set out in the job ad’s Person Specification. This article give you some tips on how to write a cover letter, and a couple of example templates.

Some of the following might seem obvious but it is worth checking through this list. You know how easy it is to make mistakes.

  • Be sure to include your own contact details. Many of us are used to writing on letterhead and forget that we need to include our own address.
  • Make sure you have the recipient’s name and address right. Address them as by title unless you have spoken to them when you may feel (but not necessarily) that you can use their first name. Avoid Dear Sir/Madam unless you have no information on the person.
  • Give the complete job reference/number from the ad. If you have had a phone discussion refer to that.
  • Make sure you have done your research. At very least you should have looked at the company’s website. Better still is to have used a corporate research site to do some in depth research on the company. The more you know about them, what is going on in the company at present, what their needs and goals are, the more target a letter you can write.
  • Briefly outline your ability to meet the needs of the job. One effective way is to use a table or bullet points to show a comparison between your experience and the selection criteria shown.
  • Include a paragraph explaining why you are interested in the position. But focus on the advantage to them of employing you, not the advantage to you. Avoid phrases like ‘I feel that I am right for this job’ or ‘I would very much like to have this job. Talk about what they need and why you fill it.
  • Use a positive close, particularly if you are applying for a sales position. For example “I will call you in a few days to discuss my application.” This is much more forceful than “I look forward to hearing from you.”
  • Most business letters and letters of application close with “Yours sincerely.” Only use “Yours Faithfully” only if you do not know the recipients name and have addressed the letter to “Dear Sir/Madam”.
  • The letter should be one page maximum. Remember the recipients spend a minimum time reading your responses.
  • Revise your CV to highlight all the achievements relevant to this application and include it with your letter.
  • Always write a new letter for each application. Even if you have a template that you base your letter on, make sure you consider each letter separately. That way  your letters will be fresh and alive, not dull and mass produced.
  • Remember that your letter and your CV are the only thing they know about you. They have to be good!

Sample Ad Response Letters

20 Hill View Crescent
Winchester

Hants

SO62 2HU

Mr Donald Jones
Human Resources Director
Wavelength Industries
100 North Road
Southampton
Hants SO53 2XS

(Date)

Dear Mr Jones

I wish to apply for the role of Accounting Supervisor advertised in The Times on 20 December 2008.

I believe that I have the skills and experience to assist Wavelength Industries (refer here to whatever you feel is relevant in the company’s activities or current news stories). I outline below my experience as it matches your requirements.

Your Needs My Experience and Skills
Three to five years of accounting experience Five years in-depth accounting experience in progressively senior roles.ACCA qualified in 2002.

Reduced costs in departments supported by 5% year on year.
Managed staff of three professionals.

Strong analytical skills Proven excellence in analysing complex business accounts with a view to making informed recommendations.Undertook detailed audit inventory of processes leading to better streamlined processes and significant savings of £50,000.
Knowledge of accounting systems Experienced in day-to-day month and year end processingSuper user for SAP implementation involved in defining user requirements.

Developed and implemented a new purchase order system using new software resulting in increased cost control and greater reporting accuracy.

I have additional relevant accomplishments explained in depth in my attached CV.

I will contact you within the next few days to further discuss my application and arrange an opportunity to meet.

Yours sincerely

(Name)

 

 

20 Hill View Crescent
Winchester

Hants

SO62 2HU

(Date)

Mr Donald Jones
Human Resources Director
Wavelength Industries
100 North Road
Southampton

Hants SO53 2XS

 

Dear Mr Jones

I wish to apply for the role of Accounting Supervisor advertised in The Times on 20 May 2005.  I outline below my experience as it matches your requirements.

I am ACCA qualified and have five years in-depth accounting experience in progressively senior roles.   In my most recent role as Finance Manager for Dolby Investments Ltd, I manage a team of three professionals and have reduced costs across departments by 5% year on year.

My strong analytical skills have enabled me to excel at analysing complex business accounts with a view to making informed recommendations.  For example, at Dolby I undertook a detailed audit inventory of processes which lead to a more streamlined process and significant savings of £50,000.

I am experienced in day-to-day, month and year end processing and a Super user for SAP implementation involved in defining user requirements.   I have also developed and implemented a new purchase order system using new software resulting in increased cost control and greater reporting accuracy.

I have additional relevant accomplishments explained in my attached CV.

I look forward to hearing from you shortly about my application.

Yours sincerely

(Name)