Covering letter: useful tips and hints

Writing a covering letter may seem like a difficult and challenging task when applying for a job, however, it is one of the most important aspects when initially applying. You typically only get 30 seconds to grab the attention of an employer through your application, so you want to make a positive impact from the first page. A covering letter allows you to highlight your key skills in your CV, personalising your application and demonstrating why you are the ideal candidate for the role. Take a look at a few useful tips for creating a successful letter below, and some links for further information.

  • Keep your covering letter clear and concise, in an easy to read format. Your covering letter shouldn’t be longer than an A4 page, you want to grab the employer’s attention in the first few lines, as you would with your CV
  • Relate your skills to those in the job description, making sure you tailor the covering letter for each application. Explain why you are applying for this particular role, at this specific company
  • Check and double check your covering letter and CV for grammatical errors prior to submitting. Employers may be put off if your application consists of lots of grammar mistakes, especially if the role requires attention to detail!
  • Where possible, address your covering letter to a named individual, rather than using sir/madam
  • Research the company you are applying to, and include information about them in your covering letter, detailing what attracts you to work for them. This will demonstrate that you have taken the time to research their work, and you are enthusiastic to work for them, rather than just sending a generic letter.

If you need further advice, or you would like a staff member to look over your covering letter, the Careers and Employability Service Drop Ins (daily, 10.30am – 12.30pm and 2pm – 4pm in the Careers Building) are a great place to start, where qualified employability and careers advisers are on hand with support and advice.

Useful sites for further information: