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Cover Letters

Cover letters

A good cover letter is even more important than a good CV when it comes to getting an interview. You really need to tailor each cover letter for the job you’re applying for, your potential employer really wants to know how your experience relates to their job description, so a ‘one size fits all’ approach doesn’t work.

So, how do you write an impressive cover letter? Start with the obvious – read the instructions. This sounds simple, but it is always worth checking that you’ve answered all the questions asked of you. It’s usually a good idea to try and keep your cover letter to one page, but if you’re asked to detail how you meet the requirements of the job description then you can extend this to two sides.

Next, pick out the key requirements of the job description, these are usually at the top (or at the top of each section, if it’s divided into areas) and labelled ‘essential’. You need to explain how your experience meets these criteria using a concrete example if possible. Make sure you include any relevant facts and figures to back up your achievements. As you don’t want your cover letter to be too long, try to keep each point to one or two sentences. CILIP’s Professional Knowledge and Skills Base can be very useful here - if you’ve taken the time to fill it out, you should already have a record of your key skills and notes on your experience to back these up, in fact, you may find your cover letter is almost written already!

When signing off, remember to thank them for their time and consideration, and don’t forget to include your contact details!

Take the first step in finding a new job, write your CV and figure out where you want to go.

Everything you need to know about making a good impression with your application.

How you present yourself to potential employers can make all the difference.


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