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What is a cover letter?

A good CV is nothing without an excellent cover letter to accompany it.

Your cover letter is, in many ways, the most important part of the entire application process. Often it will be the very first thing that an employer will see – after all you’re hard work on your CV, the biggest mistake you can make is to send a lazy cover letter.

What does a cover letter do?

Think of your cover letter as an accomplice– it is the document that introduces your CV, and puts in a good word with potential employers.

An effective cover letter should do three main things:

Introduce you and who you are
Expand upon your CV
Explain why you are applying

Add some personality!

A cover letter is a great chance to reveal the person behind the CV. While your application forms might be formal and a bit stuffy, a cover letter can be a little more engaging. The secret is to balance professionalism with a personal touch – really elaborate on why you are the best person for the job.

The best thing about cover letters is the chance they present to really talk to an employer. It is an invitation to them to read more about you in your CV.

A cover letter bridges the gap between your CV and the job, allowing you to go into more depth about your experiences and how they are relevant to the specific requirements of the company and the job. In your letter you can highlight your personality traits and expand on any other information which might improve your chances.

Save your CV

Above all else, your cover letter can be the difference between your CV being considered or thrown in the bin. The major faux pas candidates often make is to express how much the employer can do for them, rather than what they can do for the employer.