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Writing a Covering Letter by etssetcf


Writing a Covering Letter

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									      Department of Student Services
      Career Development and Employment Service

Writing a Covering Letter
What is a Covering Letter?
When sending out a CV, it should usually be accompanied by a covering letter. The main
function of your covering letter is to attract and maintain the employer’s attention by
instantly emphasising your interest and suitability for the job. Your covering letter is the first
thing an employer will read. It is therefore essential that you create a good impression,
especially if the application is speculative i.e. you are not responding to an advertisement.
The covering letter should complement the information in your CV and not duplicate it.

How long should it be?
An effective covering letter should be no longer than one side of A4 and consist of three to
five paragraphs.

Should it be hand written or word-processed?
Unless the employer specifies that the covering letter should be hand written, we would
recommend that you word-process your letter.

Who should I address it to?
You should try to find out the name, title, position and department of the person to whom
you are writing. You can find this out by telephoning the company. If you have the name of
the person, use it. If the person is female, use Ms. If you do not know the name of the
person, use Dear Sir or Madam.

Yours sincerely or Yours faithfully?
If you have addressed the letter to a named person i.e. Dear Mr Jones, end the letter with
‘Yours sincerely’. If you have started with Dear Sir or Madam, end with ‘Yours faithfully’.

What about the style?
As with your CV, spelling, grammar and punctuation are extremely important. Keep the
style simple. Don’t complicate things and lose the reader by using long, drawn-out

What should each paragraph contain?
There are no rules as to what each paragraph should contain, but you may find the
following guidelines helpful:

Opening Paragraph
In the opening paragraph, you should introduce yourself and say why you are writing e.g.
    I will be graduating this summer with a degree in……from London Metropolitan
     University …..and enclose my CV in response to your advertisement.
    I am in the second year of a……degree at London Metropolitan University…….and am
     looking for summer vacation work in…….

Middle Paragraphs
The middle paragraphs should say why you want the job and why the employer should
consider you for the job.

Although Student Services Department have checked the accuracy of information provided in this information sheet, they are not
responsible for any errors or omissions. Last up-dated January 2006
a) Why you want the job

You need to demonstrate why you want to work in that particular sector, with that particular
employer doing that particular job. This will probably involve doing some research if you
want the employer to believe that you have a genuine interest in the position. The following
phrases may help you with this:
   My work experience at ……confirmed my interest in banking and finance.
   Speaking to your company representatives at the …….careers fair, helped me to make
   the decision to apply to your company.

b) Selling yourself

Here you need to convince the employer that you are able to do the job. This will involve
you identifying what skills the employer is looking for (if not stated) and matching them to
your skills. The information you give could relate to your work experience, education, extra-
curricular activities, voluntary work or life experiences generally. This provides you with the
opportunity to show the employer that you understand what the job involves.

Below are some examples of how you can ‘sell yourself’:
   My degree in……indicates a high level of numeracy, important in this career.
   While studying full-time I have also worked part time. This has required me to be……
   At university, I helped to organise several charity events which helped me to improve
   Working as a sales assistant helped me to develop my customer service skills and……

If you have a genuine explanation for any weak points in your application (e.g. poor exam
results due to illness) this should be explained in the middle paragraphs.

Closing Paragraph
This should be a very brief paragraph. Here you can restate your interest in the job, outline
your availability for interview or even thank the employer for taking the time to read your
application e.g.:

     I hope you view my application favourably and I look forward to hearing from you soon.
     I am excited about the prospect of joining your company and hope you are interested in
     discussing my CV in more detail.

Whatever you say, make sure that you come across as positive and enthusiastic!

Further help:
   AGCAS Information Booklet: Making Applications (available in the Careers Information
   Library, Student Services)
   AGCAS Video: Looking good on paper (available in the Careers Information Library)
   London Metropolitan University website:
   Prospects website:
   University of London website:
   Workshops on CVs and Covering Letters:

   Alternative formats of this information sheet (large font, Braille)
                         available on request
Although the Department of Student Services have checked the accuracy of information provided in this information sheet, they are not
responsible for any errors or omissions. Last up-dated January 2006
Basic Layout of a Covering Letter
                                                                                                    24 Granger Road
                                                                                                    N3 6LP

                                                                                                    20 July 2005

Ms. S Brown
Graduate Recruitment Manager
Craver Marketing Ltd
6 Bridge Lane
W1 7YU

Dear Ms Brown

Application for the post of Graduate Marketing Trainee

Opening Paragraph ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------


Middle Paragraph 1----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------



Middle Paragraph 2----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------



Closing Paragraph ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------


Yours sincerely


David Trent

Although the Department of Student Services have checked the accuracy of information provided in this information sheet, they are not
responsible for any errors or omissions. Last up-dated January 2006

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