Wednesday, 11 November 2009

10 Tips for Writing Your Cover Letter

I have recently been asked by several people about writing cover letters. They can sometimes be overlooked but are often an important tool for securing an interview. Here are my top ten suggestions to make yours stand out from the crowd:

giant stack of resumes

  1. If you are responding to a specific role, state your intention to apply for this job. Talk briefly about your motivations for pursuing a career with this company.
  2. Make it specific to the company to whom you are writing; demonstrate that you understand a bit about their business. If you can make it personal to an individual (Dear Mr Smith) then do so.
  3. Think of the cover letter as an extension of your “elevator pitch”. Why should the person opening your email/letter invite you for an interview?
  4. Talk about your aptitude to do the job in question; this may be by giving example achievements from your recent experience.
  5. Answer the question “What differentiates me from my peers?”
  6. Use the cover-letter as a way to demonstrate your prose writing skills (i.e. don’t make it a list of bullet points).
  7. Close the letter, i.e. suggest a next step, such as “Please take a look at my CV for further information”, “I look forward to hearing back from you”, “Please do not hesitate to get in contact with me if you have any questions”.
  8. Keep it to one side of A4, type font 10 or 11 (if it is via email, keep it to 3 paragraphs).
  9. Do not talk about salary in the cover letter.
  10. Make sure your contact details are clear and correct; and also make sure that the company’s address and contact details are correct.
By Clare Buxton
Wind Energy Sector Lead, EcoSearch

Photo Courtesy of woodleywonderworks.


  1. Excellent post. Cover letters are often the most difficult thing to write, especially if your expertise and experience are tied to entrepreneurial activities. It can be difficult portraying yourself in the right way if you don’t have a gameplan or have knowledge of what an entrepreneur’s cover letter should look like.

  2. A well-written cover letter gives a framework to understand the work experience and education listed on the resume. The job market is as competitive today as ever, which makes creating an effective cover letter is more important than ever.

    cover letter