The perfect cover letter template

A cover letter is a hugely important part of any job application. But, unlike a CV, the conventions of what makes a good one are a little looser. Getting your cover letter right is the best way to make your application stand out and stick in your employers mind. Cover letters serve to personalise your application and act as a link between your CV and the person specification. Here’s how to get yours right.

You absolutely need to be tailoring your cover letter to the job you’re applying for. It’s fine to have a template ready, but you need to make sure it’s clear your cover letter is directly linked to the position you’re applying for. Alongside editing the information of the letter accordingly, you should try to find out who it’s for and name them directly. This shows, right off the bat, that you’re going to extra mile.

Make sure you use your opening paragraph – after all, it might be all they read. There should be absolutely no fluff, and all your key information should be clear.

The best cover letters comment on the role, not just on yourself. Rather than a long list of reasons you’re great for the job, comment on the reasons the job is great for you. This helps employers know you’ve done your research, and that you know what you want in a job and career.

An excellent rule of thumb to follow for cover letters is show, don’t tell. Instead of copying out the person spec and claiming you possess all these qualities, draw on your experiences and skills to prove that you do. For example, if the spec asks for someone who is good at problem-solutions, talk (briefly) about a time you solved a huge problem in your last place of work.

Not only does this better “prove” you’re well-suited to this job, but it shows you’re taking time over your cover letter. Putting in an extra bit of effort to make your cover letter stand out may be the difference between getting a job and, well, not.

Using specifics is another way to help your cover letter stand out. If anything you’re writing seems vague, ask yourself if you can add a fact or figure in its place. This again adds to the “proof” of you as an excellent candidate. It also adds veracity to your cover letter as a whole.

Use your sign-off to prompt action in your potential employers. This firmly places the ball back in their court and shows that you’re helpful and easy to contact.