When it comes to applying for jobs, one of the most important things after a CV is your cover letter. A cover letter can give you a personal and competitive edge over other job candidates who may have similar experience or qualifications to you and can help show prospective employers that you are genuinely interested in the role. If you need guidance on how to write a cover letter, our complete guide includes everything you need to know to craft that winning cover letter for any role, as well as guidance on where to find a free cover letter template to help you on your way.

What is a Cover Letter?

Simply put, a good cover letter is a letter to a future potential employer detailing why you are applying for the role and why you think you will be a good fit for the role. The purpose of a cover letter is to interest an employer and hopefully lead to being called for an interview for a job. A cover letter is different from your CV in that rather than listing your qualifications and accomplishments, it talks directly to the employer and acts as an introduction to who you are.

Why Write a Cover Letter?

Aside from being a requirement when applying for some roles, writing a cover letter is an excellent way to stand out from the sea of applicants, particularly in the currently challenging job marketplace. Whilst your CV can showcase your talents and qualifications for the role, writing a cover letter can act as an additional and personal introduction to your potential future employer about why you think you may be perfect for the role. Writing a cover letter can act as a signal to employers that you are willing to go above and beyond any basic requirements and can help you really pull out your strengths and qualities which can sometimes get lost in a CV.

How to Write a Cover Letter

When it comes to writing a cover letter for a job application, the most important thing is to instil some of your own personality into the letter. Below we have included guides on how long a cover letter should be and what to include, but ideally your cover letter should be tailored to the job that you are applying for. If you are writing one for an internship, for example, this will be quite different to an application letter for a teacher. Include specific details about the job you are applying for and why you think you would be a perfect fit for that specific role. If you can make it stand out, you are part of the way there to creating a winning job application.

How Long Should a Cover Letter Be?

When working out how long a cover letter should be, it is important to look at what job you are writing the cover letter for and what you need to include init. In general though, a cover letter should be around one page in length. This should be divided up into around three or four short paragraphs containing everything you want to let your potential employer know. You should avoid an overly long or wordy cover letter for the simple reason that if it is too long it won’t be read. Employers often have a high number of applicants for any given role and as such often don’t have the time to read something long. It should be short, attention-grabbing and to the point.

What to Include in a Cover Letter

When writing your cover letter for a job, it is important to really show your employer that you are the perfect candidate for the position. When it comes to what to include, there are a few key things to remember. Your cover letter should always include some basic things such as your contact information at the top, the role you are applying for, and a description of why you are ideally suited to the role.

Before you start writing, take a look at some cover letter examples online to see which format you should be aiming for. In terms of a template, many universities and councils provide examples such as this one by Birmingham City Council but this should be used as a guide only. Your cover letter should be bespoke to the job you are applying for and your own personal skills and personality. Therefore, be sure to include an outline of your key skills as they relate to the job you are applying for and any personal experience you may have that may help to enrich the role. Use the job specification advertised for guidance when writing your cover letter.

Career Advice

When it comes to cover letters, this is your chance to put your best foot forward and show what you consider to be your best qualities and what makes you the perfect fit for the business you are applying for. Here at Shawthorpe we are perfectly placed to offer advice on any step of the career journey. So, whether you are just getting started looking for a new career and looking to change your career path and need some advice, get in touch with the team to find out more about how we can help.