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Your Covering Letter

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Your covering letter is your first impression to an employer – it should be an introduction that briefly covers your interest in the role and sells your suitability.

This is your chance to show an employer:

The more you target and tailor your letter to a role and employer, the more likely it is to stand out – just like your CV, you will need to make a new one for each role you apply for. Unlike a CV, however, a cover letter has more room to show your personality and tell the story of your career journey.


Cover Letter Builder: Follow the 'Career Planning' button on Blackboard's 'My Careers tab to find our Cover Letter Builder tool.


Addressing your letter

Address your letter to a named individual within the company to ensure that it is read by the correct person. If you have a named contact, you are able to follow-up with a telephone call or email to exactly the right person. Research the company in order to gain a contact, whether it be on the company website, telephoning their switchboard or asking their HR Department.

If you are given someone’s full name, e.g. Joe Bloggs, do not address the letter ‘Dear Joe’ unless you are very familiar with the person. Rather begin ‘Dear Mr Bloggs’.

If you find it impossible to get the name of an individual within the company, use ‘Dear Sir/Madam’.

If you have a named contact – you should conclude ‘Yours sincerely’
If you use ‘Dear Sir/Madam’ – you should conclude ‘Yours faithfully’

Other Tips: Style, Formatting and more

What to include

Following a cover letter template could mean your letter will not read naturally to employers. While there are some structures you can follow (including the one you will find on the Cover Letter Builder on Blackboard) you will need to adapt them to suit your unique abilities and how they suit the role - if you have a role description try to use similar words to what the employer has used. Here are some basic points that you may want to cover. You may choose to order them differently.

1. An introduction

 

 A brief and clear paragraph stating who you are, the role you are applying for and perhaps the reason you are applying for it. You can say where you saw the role advertised, establish any links you have with the company (worked for them previously, spoken to a team member at a careers fair) or make it clear that you are making a speculative enquiry about something such as work experience.

hex1

Dear Mr Briggs,

I am writing to apply for the position of trainee accountant with 123 AccountingFinance. I am a BA (Hons) Business and Finance graduate from the University of Lincoln. I recently spoke with one of your employers at the University of Lincoln careers fair.

2. Your interest in the employer

Do your research and show your enthusiasm for working for them. Have they had any recent successes, do they work with particular clients or have any particular values that attract you?

hex2 I am extremely enthusiastic about working for 123 AccountingFinance. I would love to work within such a fast paced organisation that works on a global level such as your company. I also want to make a difference to people's lives, an ethos at the core of 123 AccountingFinance's mission. Being able to work in a financial company which asssists its clients to be efficient with their finances and achieve sustainable outcomes are my guiding principles for choosing an employer.

3. Your interest in the role

Show your awareness of what the work will involve and establish your suitability for it.

hex3 I am looking to gain my first steps in accounting and receive the highest standard of training to complete my accounting qualifications. The varied nature of the role is what interests me, the opportunity to work within the different areas of Tax, Consulting and Transactions so I can fully understand the opportunities available to me upon completion of my accounting training.

4. Your key strengths

Without re-writing your CV, highlight your most relevant skills, qualifications, knowledge and experience that you believe will be of particular importance or interest to the employer or the role.

hex4 The foundation of knowledge I have gained from studying Business and Finance will help me greatly. From my work with the Banking, Investment and Trading society at the University of Lincoln I have developed the analytical ability, methodical approach and problem-solving skills that would be essential for this graduate scheme. My previous experience in retail environment providing excellent service to customers will be transferable when working with different types of clients from global companies to individuals. This is also confirmed through my work with Dejuner Accounting where I maintained a client base demonstrating I have the interpersonal skills to work with clients.

5. Other important information

Make sure you include responses to any specific things asked by the employer to cover in the job advert such as hours of availability or if you have special needs that will need to be catered to in an interview. If you wish to disclose a disability, be sure to read Prospect’s advice on doing so.

hex5 As I have now graduated from the University of Lincoln I am available to start with 123 AccountingFinance in September on the three year contract that is being offered.

6. A positive conclusion

You can thank the employer for their time and express how you look forward to hearing from them. This is also a good time to reiterate your preferred methods of contact and availability for an interview.

hex6 Thank you very much for your time and consideration - I look forward to discussing my application further with you.

Yours sincerely,

Johnathan Patch

Further Reading

Get this article, along with advice on covering letters and our Word Bank, as a PDF.

Writing your CV | Writing Your Cover Letter | Word Bank | Using the CV Builder on Blackboard (Video)

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