City : CV Hothouse : What is a Cover Letter?
What is a Cover Letter?
For most job applications that you send, you should add a cover letter to introduce yourself, your motivations, and why you want to work for the employer you're applying to!
This might sound a bit tricky, but it's essentially just an A4-page length letter where you can talk more about your skills, attributes, and why you're interested in the role... It gives your application a bit of personality so that the employer can see what you're really like!
It also shows your employer that you can write a letter properly! (Don't worry - we have a cover letter template on the progress tracker to show you what one looks like!).
Some extra advice...
What makes a good cover letter?
Here are our 5 top tips for writing a good cover letter...
1) Make sure your cover letter has no spelling mistakes or typos and is written in clear, complete sentences.
2) Your cover letter should act as an introduction to your CV - make sure it really sells the skills on your CV.
3) Double check your writing and get a couple of people to read through your cover letter before you send it off.
4) You should write a different cover letter for each job you apply to - these don't have to be very different from each other but the cover letter should be individual to each role you're applying to.
5) To keep a clean format, you should type your cover letter in clear, simple font - like Ariel - sized 12pt.
For more help on writing a good cover letter, check out the advice on the National Careers Service website - they have tonnes of useful advice!
When would I not need a Cover Letter?
If you're applying to a job through an online application form a cover letter may not be required. In online applications, employers will sometimes ask you to answer questions as a substitute for a CV and cover letter document - always make sure to double check!
HOWEVER, the application may include questions in which you have to write a supporting statement within a certain word count or go in to detail about why you'd like to work in that role.
Having experience of writing a cover letter might help you to answer these questions, so even if you don't need a cover letter, the tips above will still be useful!
REMEMBER - your cover letter goes alongside your CV so don't just copy out what you've already written there!
Your cover letter should add something to your CV and let the employer know your personal motivations.