Step by step guide to covering letters www uwe by lauraarden


									Step-by-step guide to…

covering letters

Step-by-step guide to…

covering letters
•   Decide what sort of letter you want. If you are sending a very detailed application
    form your letter can be simply introducing your application, but if sending a CV you will
    want to send something more substantial to help ‘sell’ yourself to the employer. You can
    find example letters on our careers website.

•   Start the letter by introducing yourself and your background, such as what you have
    been studying.

•   Describe why you are applying, and your interest in the job. Make clear why you are
    keen to work for the employer and what attracts you to the particular job. Research the
    employer. Look at their website or check the ‘Company Information’ resources in the
    business section of the UWE Bolland Library.

•   State what makes you a good candidate. Mention a couple of your key selling points
    and explain how these link to the job. Do not include details in too much depth, the CV
    or application form is the place for this. Our Step by Step guide to marketing your skills
    gives more details on this process.

•   If there are issues of concern that the employer may have, such as poor grades or
    gaps in your employment history, try to put them in a positive context in the letter.
    Don’t spend too much space on them. This can be a tricky area. If you want further
    advice on it, send a draft to one of our advisers.

•   Finish the letter in a friendly manner, and include your availability for interview or
    when you could start working for them.

•   Review your letter to make sure it is a positive ‘sales pitch’ . Make sure it shows
    clearly how keen you are to work for that employer and why. If the letter is a speculative
    letter, ensure that it makes clear what you are asking for.

•   Proof read and spell check the letter carefully. Presentation is of vital importance.
    Employers may reject applications that contain spelling or grammatical errors.
Further information
Always include a covering letter with your CV or application form. Where you are
using a CV or have been asked for an application statement in the form of a letter, the
covering letter will be a very important part of the recruitment process. It is the first
document an employer will read. It should encourage them to give your CV their
full attention.

•   Give your letter a title e.g. the job name and/or reference number.
•   The covering letter should be word processed (unless stated otherwise) and usually be no
    more than one side of A4.
•   Some employers, for example, hospitals or schools, may expect a longer letter. For them,
    include a more detailed description of your relevant experience.
•   When emailing your application, attach the application form or CV as a Word document.
    Then either write the covering letter in the email body or attach it as a second document.
•   Try to address your letter to a named person, not just, ‘Dear Sir/Madam’.
•   Use ‘Yours faithfully’ with ‘Dear Sir/Madam’ and ‘Yours sincerely’ with ‘Dear Mrs Jones’.
•   Put your address and the date in the top right hand corner and then the employer’s
    address on the left.

•   Use for researching employers, or sources in
    the Career Development Unit or the Bolland Library. Try using searches through business
    press, magazine articles or professional journals to show a more pro-active approach to
    researching the employers than just looking at their web site.
•   Explain why you want to work for that particular employer. It may be the company’s
    products or service that appeals to you, or their approach to training. Find out more by
    checking the company website or asking them to send you their annual report. You could
    also talk to people that already work there through family contacts, friends or UWE
    alumni. The UWE Careers Web can help here.
•   Explaining gaps in your CV, changes of direction or poor exam results can be difficult, but
    use the letter to present a positive focus on these things, such as what you learnt from
    the experience or the qualities you showed in overcoming obstacles. More information
    about disclosing a disability is on the Skill website in the ‘Get that job’ section – see
•   Write positively. One of the main reasons put forward by employers for rejecting
    applications is lack of enthusiasm shown by the applicant. Let them know that you would
    like to see them to discuss things further.
•   If the letter is speculative, ensure that it clearly states what you are asking for. Try to
    make it easy for the employer to respond positively to you - offer them a range of
    options - not just ‘do you have a graduate opening?’ Could they offer a brief work
    placement or job shadowing? Could you assist with a project?
•   Always consider what the recipient of your letter will be looking for when you are
    deciding on what style and language to use and the key points to focus on.
•   Use plain language not jargon. Avoid complicated words you have looked up in a
    Thesaurus and do not copy phrases from model cover letters you have read, other
    applicants may have used the same phrases.

Further help
•   See the UWE Careers Web for more information on covering letters, CVs and
    applications forms.
•   When you have produced a draft using the guidelines in this leaflet, if you wish, you can
    send a copy of your letter to us for checking using our online enquiry form.

Career Development Unit, Room 2D11
Centre for Student Affairs
University of the West of England
Frenchay Campus
Coldharbour Lane
Bristol BS16 1QY

Tel: 0117 32 82570                                                                    Graphic Design Team
                                                                                      UWE, BRISTOL
                                                                                                             F.07.06                                                                 Printing & Stationery Services

To top