The layout and the format of your entire job application is very important, if you have a flawless CV but an error-ridden cover letter then the employer will think that you aren’t thorough in your approach or focused on the task in hand, leading them to believe you either aren’t right for the job or that you don’t want it.
The layout of your cover letter refers to the way the employer will view your application, so you must ensure that you present your information in a professional way and also so that it is easy to read. Take into consideration: the way the words are set up on the page (is it easy to read?), the font size and style (is it professional looking?), the spacing (is it too cramped or not spread out enough?) and any headings (do they relate to the content that follows?).
Cover letter template
Follow our simple 8 step cover letter guide to ensure that you get an interview.
- Firstly, include your details on the top of the document. You need to include your name, address, phone number, email address; this is so that they can easily find your contact details.
- Then, date the cover letter and ideally include the details of the person you are sending your cover letter and CV (i.e. their name, their title, the company you are applying for and the company address).
- Thirdly, greet and address the person who will be reading your application. It is very important to know their name because this will make the application more personal. ‘Dear sir/madam’ isn’t as effective as ‘Dear Mary Wall’.
- Keep your opening paragraph concise but make sure it is gripping. You must include the position you are applying for and where you found the vacancy, as well as a short line or two about why you think you’re the right candidate for the role.
- The second paragraph is a chance for you to expand on why you believe you are right for the role, which means matching up the skills that are listed on the job specification with personal examples of when you have portrayed these characteristics and traits by using your previous experience, such as previous work experience or educational experience.
- In the third paragraph, you need to explain what you’ll bring to the company and what you can do for them. Again, similar to the second paragraph, you must include examples to support your reasons. It is also worth noting that the more in-depth and detailed the examples are, the more likely you will stand out against your competition.
- Your fourth and final paragraph must conclude why you are the right candidate for the role and don’t forget to reiterate your interest in the job position.
- And finally, the sign off; thank him/her for reading your application and for their time. Express your eagerness to meet with him/her to discuss your application in more detail. Then sign off the cover letter with ‘Yours sincerely’ if you addressed them by name at the beginning, or ‘Yours faithfully’ if you put Dear sir/madam.