A Guide to Why It’s Important and What to Write

When you’re applying for a new job, more often than not, you’re asked to submit a covering letter as well as your CV, and some businesses will not even look at CVs that arrive without a covering letter. However it can be tricky, as you may be asking yourself, well what do you write in a covering letter? It takes a little time however it really can make all the difference. We’ve put together some handy hints to help you get it just right and also cover letter mishaps to avoid.

Introduce Yourself

Of course first and foremost you should introduce yourself and explain which job you are applying for. You could already start to briefly mention what interested you in the role, for example “I saw the role of Accounts Assistant advertised and it really appealed to me as I’ve been looking for a role based within Professional Practice”. You can also show a little bit of the knowledge you’ve gained about their company too, for example you could say “I see that your company has grown through various acquisitions, and a future-focussed company is exactly the kind of company I want to work for”. It’s a great way to capture the attention of the reader, and tells them instantly why you want the job.

Highlight Key Achievements

The whole purpose of your covering letter should be to highlight the areas in which your experience matches the job description. So this is your chance to really sell yourself! You can highlight your achievements on your CV, however your covering letter is your opportunity to elaborate more and really explain the story behind the achievement. For example if you’ve helped your business achieve growth in the past year and you have that on your CV, then, if relevant, your covering letter should explain a little bit of the story behind how you achieved it. It helps the recruiter get to know you better and understand your role in certain achievements.

Create a Tailored Solution

In the same way you tailor your CV to the role you’re applying for, you need to tailor your covering letter too. Look closely at the job description and see exactly what the company is asking for, they might be looking for a leader who can really push a department forward, then pick up on that in your covering letter, using the language they’ve used in the job description to explain. For example, “I see from the job description that you’re looking for someone to raise the profile of the department. In my current role I have grown a team from 2 to 6 individuals, allowing us to be more involved in different areas of the business…”. You’re essentially finding the solution for the company, they need someone to bring about change and you’re the person to make it happen!

Keep it Brief

Your cover letter shouldn’t be longer than one A4 page or you run the risk that the recruiter simply won’t take the time to read it. If you feel your covering letter is overly long then ask a friend or your recruitment partner to take a look at it for you. Sometimes a fresh pair of eyes can help you identify areas where you’re repeating yourself, or unnecessary information that is more than covered by your CV. Planning your cover letter out before you begin can help, as you can layout your key points and avoid any waffle.

Check, Check and Check Again

It’s so important that you check spelling and grammar before you send your covering letter. It’s really easy to miss little mistakes but some recruiting managers won’t even consider an application if they highlight a spelling error in the cover letter. Get someone else to check your covering letter if spelling and grammar isn’t your strong point, as it really can make all the difference. Also if you’re using the same cover letter and just adapting it for different jobs, make sure you change the job information! 
Think about Formatting

It’s rare these days that you post a CV and covering letter, so formatting is really important. Keep the format of your covering letter really simple, don’t be tempted to attract attention with any fancy formatting! This formatting might not be interpreted by the receiver’s computer, making your cover letter look a bit all over the place!

Don’t Repeat Yourself

This is probably the most important point. Your cover letter should not just be a copy of your CV! Don’t use the valuable space to recap over your career history or your educational achievements as the recruitment manager can pull that information from your CV quite easily. The information should help them to get to know you better than your CV could, and leaving them feeling like you’re just perfect for the job!


Here at Optimum Recruitment Group we specialise in the recruitment of Accountancy, Finance and Human Resource professionals across the Yorkshire region. Let us help you find the opportunity you’re looking for, call 01904 208065 or email admin@optimumrecruitment.co.uk



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