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Cover Letter Template

Most jobs you ever apply for in your life (quite a few) will ask you to send in a cover letter alongside a CV and maybe even an application form. Whether it’s for a part-time job, internship, work experience, temporary work or your dream career, a cover letter will be required. “But how on earth do I go about writing one?” I hear you plea. Well, every cover letter will be different depending on the job, but there’s always necessary things to mention here and there and a standard format to follow. So without further ado, here’s the long-awaited AllAboutCareers.com cover letter template!

Opening Paragraph

Along with putting your address, contact details and date in the top right hand corner of the page, you should start the letter off on the left hand side of the page with a ‘Dear Sir or Madam’ if you do not know who you’re addressing. If you know the name of who the cover letter is for, address it to them. It looks a bit silly if you know somebody is called Ms Smith, but you refer to her as Sir or Madam.

The opening paragraph (we say paragraph, we mean first couple of sentences) should say why you’re interested in the job and introduce why you’re the ideal candidate. So for the ideal graduate job, ‘the role is the perfect opportunity to launch my career in the xyz sector and I believe I am the ideal candidate because of my experience and skills.’

This can be trickier for part-time jobs, as you may only be applying to earn some extra money. However, there’s no harm in mentioning that ‘the role will allow me to learn more about the xyz industry and will develop my skills in abc whilst I continue in full-time education.’

Second & Third Paragraph

The second and third paragraph and the cover letter is where all the fun happens, which makes sense. Think about it, you’ve told the employer who you are and how you believe that you’re ideal for the job they’re advertising, now you should explain why.

The best way to do this, if possible, is to get the list of experience and skill requirements from the job advert and tell the employer how your previous experience in work or education has allowed you to develop these skills. For example, if exemplary communication skills are required, mention how your previous part-time job in a call centre allowed you to develop these skills on a weekly basis. Alternatively, if the employer needs somebody who is able to work effectively in a team, mention a time when you worked as part of a group in your seminar to deliver a presentation which received a first class mark.

Make sure you cover every point as not doing to will reveal that you’re not able to wholly fulfil the job role. It can be tough explaining every point concisely, but that’s the art of cover letters. Also, your skills should be developed through a mixture of previous experience, from education to part-time jobs to internships. Don’t just say you developed all your skills in one role.

Fourth Paragraph

After you’ve told the employer how cut out for the job you are and they’re thinking ‘Wow, this person will really fit into our team, we should interview them to find out more’, you should let them know when you’re available to take up the role. It may be the case that you have one university exam left and won’t be able to start until the beginning of June. Or perhaps you have to relocate and it will take you a bit of time to find a place to stay. Whatever the case may be, don’t lie to your potential new employers. It would really cheese your employers off if you told them you could start on a certain date but then pull a three-week holiday out of thin air and say that you ‘must’ve forgot to mention it.’ Not cool.

Final Paragraph & Sign Off

Your final paragraph should summarise what you’ve said in your cover letter. Something along the lines of ‘I believe my experience, skills and passion for the industry makes me the ideal candidate for this opening’ will go down a treat. Don’t forget to thank the employer for reading and considering your application either.

Sign off with ‘Yours sincerely’ if you know the name of the person, or ‘Yours faithfully’ if you’ve addressed the letter to ‘Sir or Madam.’ Double and triple check your spelling and grammar and then send it on its way!

You may be wondering how long your cover letter should be. The short answer is between one and two pages but you shouldn’t try to pad out the letter with pointless drivel if you’ve only written three quarter of a page. At the end of the day, being concise is a skill and employers can tell if somebody has put effort into producing a cover letter. Make a note of the above advice and we’re sure you’ll do well! 

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