What to Include in a Cover Letter? Employment

The likelihood is that if you’re reading this article, the job that you’re applying for is asking for a cover letter. More and more jobs are requesting that candidates accompany their applications with a cover letter as well as a CV. This is for a variety of reasons but the most important is that it’s your chance to put your case across as to why you’re the best candidate for the role. In order to help you with your upcoming application, we’ve put together the following guide.

In terms of the structure, there are a few vital pieces of information that should be written around:

  1. Personal Details
  2. Address the Employer
  3. Sell Yourself
  4. Sign Off

1. Personal Details

This is particularly important for those that are looking to hand their cover letter to the recruiter in person. However, with most applications being moved online and being accompanied by a CV that contains your personal details, this may not be necessary. Including your personal details can also help to add a professional feel to your document though and keep it consistent with the theme of your CV.

If you are to include personal details, you should include the following information:

  • Full name
  • Home address
  • Professional Email Address
  • Employer address

For addresses, it’s common to align this text to the left. However, for your other details, you may wish to include them at the top of your document, centralised.

2. Address the Employer

Your first port of call when it comes to writing a cover letter is to address the letter to your recipient. If you know the name of the recruiting manager, you should address it to them in the following format:

Dear Mr/Mrs. Smith

Often, you may not be familiar with the recruiting manager. Sometimes you may be able to find this out by doing a little bit of research on a platform like LinkedIn. However, if that’s not possible, a leading job advertisement site Indeed recommends that you should address it to the relevant department and avoid general terms such as ‘To Whom it may Concern’ and ‘Dear Sir/Madam’.

3. Sell Yourself

Now it’s time to start selling yourself. At this point, it’s important to understand the differences between your CV and your cover letter. Where your CV should be a representation of your skills, accomplishments and experience, a cover letter should draw from these to explain why you are suitable for the role. As you are only recommended to write one page for your cover letter, it’s important that you write succinctly and to the point. A method that we recommend is that you look at what the job description is asking for, and then use a relevant part of your CV to back up why you would be capable of doing it. For example, if the role is asking for a team player, you could write something like the following:

“Having worked on a joint project with my colleagues at company name and achieved impressive results, I feel confident that I could work well within a team and bring a collaborative spirit to any project given to us.”

Another important reference point should be the values of the company. Often, these can be featured in a job description. However, for when they aren’t you should be able to find them on the company’s website. You should acknowledge these and give reasons as to why your attitude reflects them. Because every company’s job description and values are so different, it’s hard to predict what you should write. Structuring this in the way that we have advised should stand you in good stead as it proves to the employer that you have taken the time to read about the job and the company. This is invaluable to an employer as it demonstrates your drive and how keen you are for the job.

4. Sign Off

Similarly to how you address the employer, you should also take care when signing off your cover letter. According to Reed, what you say depends on whether you know the name of the employer. They recommend that if you know the hiring manager’s name, you should sign off with ‘Yours sincerely’. Alternatively, if you don’t know their name, you should sign off with ‘Yours Faithfully’.

Get Help Writing Your Cover Letter From BBO

If you feel like you would benefit from any further advice on writing your cover letter, please contact us. Here at Building Better Opportunities, we help to provide employment and welfare advice to people across South Stafford and Staffordshire. If you wish to get in touch with any of the advocates, you can also come and visit us at one of our drop in sessions. You can also take a read through our ‘How To Write a Cover Letter For A Job? guide for more tips and tricks.