How to structure a good covering letter

A good covering letter should probably be only one page, be tailored, specific and personal. It should follow a few key guidelines to get the maximum impact.

Key components of the covering letter include:

1) Your full address
2) Address it to a specific person
3) Include a bit about you
4) Why are you applying
5) Your research
6) Tailor your application to the job
7) Close the letter

Letter structure

The employers' address goes in the top right corner addressed to the relevant person. You may also add your own address at the top left, however, most people already have this on the CV.

Make the letter in short and readable paragraphs. Do not write for lines and lines as this becomes a long narrative that people do not want to read.

Break the letter up in the middle section with bullet points to stand out and draw attention to specific detail. Usually in a letter we use this section to tailor your reason for applying to the role or to match your experience to the job specification.

End with a closing professional paragraph.

Sign the letter if you can or add your name at the end.

Address it properly

You should (Where possible) have established who the key contact is so make sure the letter is addressed to them, stating their full job title. This makes it personal and shows you have paid some attention. Personally If I ever receive a covering letter with "Dear Sir/Madam" or "To Whom it may concern" I simply lose interest after the first line.

State your reason for writing

Include a brief introduction saying who you are, what you do and why you are writing to them.
GRAB THEIR ATTENTION! Always try and use a bold statement or key achievement to start like "I am a title winning coach" or "I am the youngest person to achieve my qualification" or "I have 15 years of extensive experience in..." Something to get the reader interested in looking for more.

Why this employer

Do not use a generic letter, mention the employer by name and ensure you add details about the company to show you care enough to do your research.
For example, "I am interested in a role with Fleetwood Town as I have watched your progression over the past few years and can see the club developing with the new Academy and structure to continue developing young talent."

Making the letter unique to an employer just shows you really have researched the post and the role and you will stand out because of it. If someone knows you really want to work for them and them only, they are more likely to meet you to discuss it.

Tailor your experience to the role

Use the body of the letter to tailor your experience to the company to which you are applying. Try to match your key skills to the type of skills they will look for in an applicant.
Someone will have written the advert asking for certain key criteria so make sure you match up to what is being asked. Think of a job spec like the answers to an exam.
Your would-be employer is telling you the answers to what they want, you just need to match up to the answers. Take the time to do this.

Close the letter

Make sure you state that you thank them for taking the time to read your letter and are very keen to hear from them. Make a positive assumptive close by saying "I look forward to hearing from you".

Make it easy to open/read

You have a choice with a letter. Either make it a separate document to send as an attachment with your CV. Or write the letter within the body of the email you are most likely sending to the employer. If you send as document, then make it a PDF to ensure it looks good on a mobile and is easy to read. If sent within and email just make sure it is formatted correctly and structured as I have detailed above.

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