Cover letters

Writing a Cover Letter


What is a Cover Letter?

When you send out your CV you must always include a cover (or covering) letter, unless the employer specifies not to. It is usually a Word document or PDF that is set out like a formal letter

It is essential that you tailor every covering letter that you send out to the role you are applying for, and it should only be one A4 page long.


  • Make it professional, uncluttered, well-written and enthusiastic.
  • The most important part of a Cover Letter is showing an understanding of the job, the sector and the organisation and explaining why you want the job and why you want to work for their organisation. Prospects is a useful website for researching job roles.
  • Use the rest of the space to write about specific skills and experiences that make you right for this role.
  • Instead of repeating everything from your CV, focus on the top few pieces of information that most strongly demonstrate your suitability for the role.
  • Ideally, write to a named contact rather than "Sir/Madam".
  • In most cases you should email your covering letter as a Word document/PDF attachment to an email and include a brief explanation in the email text.

What next?

  1. Take a look at our recorded CV workshops for help with writing cover letters.
  2. Read the helpsheet on covering letters on Moodle
  3. Check the events tab of the Careers Portal for upcoming covering letter workshops and drop-in clinics
  4. Once you have completed a first draft, get your cover letter checked by us. Book a CV-checking appointment through the appointments tab of the Careers Portal.


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