The ultimate goal when applying for any role is a job offer, but first you must be selected from the countless other applicants as a top candidate to attend an interview. Knowing how to write a cover letter is one way to give your application every chance of standing out. To be identified as a top candidate it is important to write a cover letter that not only compliments your CV but highlights the distinct connection between your skills and experience with the described characteristics of an ideal candidate.

Throughout your career, you will be required to submit numerous CVs and cover letters so it’s important to master the art of writing a cover letter. A good covering letter will make your CV stand out from the plethora of others that pass across an employer's desk. So to boost your chances of being invited to an interview, we have pulled together top tips to help you prepare a winning letter.

How to write a cover letter: top tips for maximum impact

1. Address the contact mentioned in the job advert and quote the reference.

Take care when addressing your cover letter to ensure it is received by the correct person and make it clear which role you are applying for.

2. Outline your current job situation and why you want to move on - don’t be negative.

If you are currently employed, explain reasons for your interest in the new role, whether that be new opportunities or career progression, personal interests or even that you are looking for a change. If you are between jobs or have previous employment gaps on your CV, again highlight the reasons for your interest but also ensure you are upfront as to why you have been out of employment previously.

3. Talk about the company to show you’ve done your research.

Being able to demonstrate an understanding of the company’s history, their area of business and the work they do, to an employer, reflects your level of interest in the role. Someone who has clearly made an effort to find out more about a company and referenced this in their cover letter is viewed as a more committed candidate than one who has not.

4. State why you are interested in them as an employer.

Understand how the role will impact your greater career goals; how will you be able to use your skills and grow within the organisation? Is the described culture one you would be happy to work within? Be sure you can articulate the reasons why you want to work for the company and include them in your covering letter.

5. Tell them why they should be interested in you as an employee.

Most top candidates will be skilled and hardworking professionals, so it’s important to consider why you would be an especially valuable asset to the team. Highlight your achievements and any additional skills that would benefit the organisation if you were selected to fill the position.

6. Tailor your cover letter to the job and avoid repetition.

If you’re applying for multiple roles, don’t fall into the trap of reusing the same cover letter. It should be tailored to the role you are applying for and in line with the job description and company’s personality.

7. Highlight your transferable skills, achievements and versatility.

Transferable skills can help determine your suitability for a role, include any personal characteristics or personality traits that make you a better fit for the role and if you have achieved great results in a similar role be sure to highlight your success.

8. Tailor your information but don’t slavishly match the job description.

Where your skills and experience fit the criteria mention the crossover between them, however, don’t use every word or listed skill set to describe yourself in the letter.

9. Make sure it’s neat, brief and has no typos.

A typed, one page and error-free cover letter is expected. If your letter contains spelling mistakes your CV will very quickly find itself in the ‘no pile’, regardless of how experienced or skilled you are.

10. End by politely expressing interest in further dialogue.

Invite them to get in touch or make reference to meeting them in an interview to emphasise your keenness to join the team. If you don’t hear back, send a follow-up email or call the interviewer to touch base.

Where a CV lists your skills and experience, a cover letter demonstrates how these skills and experience make you a suitable candidate. Using our cover letter template and by following these top tips, you’re sure to create a letter that will bring your CV to life.

If you would like to discuss your cover letter or need assistance with tailoring your application, please get in touch with one of our specialist consultants today. Alternatively, search for jobs to apply for here.

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