The aim of a covering letter is to encourage potential employers to read your CV.

Whilst a CV sets out your skills and experience, the covering letter gives you the opportunity to show how your skills fit the job on offer.

It can be used to highlight parts of your CV which might be of particular interest to a recruiter, or to draw attention to additional information that doesn’t fit easily into a CV.

It can also be useful for explaining any personal circumstances which may be important to your application.

Whether you’re going for a graduate traineeship or a job as an agronomist, a covering letter is an important way for you to sell yourself and explain why an employer should consider you.

What to include:

Introduction – explain why you are writing. If you are replying to an advert, say where and when you saw the advert.

Experience and skills – briefly explain your current job and relevant qualifications. Draw attention to relevant aspects of your experience and how it would be useful for the role on offer. Sell your personal qualities and try to match them to the employer’s job requirements.

The perfect team – explain why you want to work for the business and what you know about them. Showing you have done some research into the company shows you are keen and enthusiastic.

A positive sign-off – say you would appreciate the opportunity to be interviewed and let them know when you are available.

 

Ensure that you…

  • Check the letter doesn’t have any spelling or grammar mistakes.
  • Check you have sent the letter to the right person. If you are unsure, phone the company and check who will be responsible for dealing with applications.
  • Keep the letter short and factual, no more than a page in length and laid out clearly with plenty of white space. If your letter is written as part of an email, apply the same formalities as you would in a letter.
  • Think from the employer’s perspective – tell them what you can offer.
  • Avoid including negative information.

 

Ensure that you don’t…

  • Regurgitate your CV.
  • Send out standard covering letters.
  • Ignore specific instructions with your application – make sure you include any information the employer requests in the job description.