Your cover letter is the first chance you have to ‘wow’ your employer, so best to make the most of it. Use the opportunity to make personal contact and create a link between you and the job offered, enticing the reader to want to know more about you by looking through your detailed CV.

1. Be personal – Wherever possible avoid addressing the letter with the general ‘To whom it may concern’ or ‘Dear sir/madam’, and instead direct the letter to the reader. Using the addressee’s title and surname are preferred to using their first name, as this may appear too personal.

2. State your intentions – Open you letter with a strong first sentence which clearly states your intention to apply for the job. Include any reference numbers that are available.

3. Structure the letter into four parts – Use your opening paragraph to tell the employer who you are and what you want. Your second paragraph should then go into more detail as to your relevant experience and skills, while the third paragraph should tell your employer how you will contribute to the company. Close off you letter clearly stating when you will be available for an interview.

4. Keep it brief – Avoid flowery writing and unnecessary detail that may already be included in your CV. Keep it concise, ensuring that it remains original and eye-catching.

5. Customise your letter – Always tailor your letter according to the job you are applying for. Select a main responsibility or aspect of the role and give an example of why you are the perfect candidate.

6. Check, check and check it again – Be meticulous about spelling and grammar. One error and your application will be sent straight to the bin.

7. Don’t forget your contact details – This information should also be on your CV, but the easier it is for your employer to find your details and get hold of you the sooner you are on your way to your dream job.

8. Follow up – If you haven’t heard from the recruiter or employer in three days call to confirm that they received your application. If they have then request an interview at their earliest convenience. If your application is denied ask for feedback… every little bit of advice will help towards your career success.

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