Writing a Good Covering Letter

We explain how to construct a good covering letter as part of a job application

Something happens in our brains when we sit down to write a letter. Our normal friendly persona is replaced by a formal mindset that struggles to find the right words to use and often opts to use all twenty possibilities.

A Formal Letter

Job application letters are often the most formal letter people write. They use too many words make them appear clumsy and difficult to read.

The best approach is to keep it simple.

The sole purpose of a covering letter is to grab the readers’ attention and get them to turn over and read the more detailed content of your CV.

The longer your letter is the more difficult it is to read and the more daunting starting to read it will feel.

If it takes longer that a couple of minutes to read then your covering letter is too long. If it spreads on to a second page it is definitely too long.

So, how to keep it simple?

Borrow a few hints from that most brief of communication tools email.


Don’t bother with an introductory sentence… Further to your advertisement… Use a heading. Both say the same thing, but a heading is more direct, and quicker to read, which makes it easier to understand.

Sell Yourself

Start the letter with your main selling point. What you will bring to the job, your skills, knowledge and experience.

Continue by explaining what these have enabled you to achieve for your current and previous employers

Use single bullet points to grab attention.

Consider using a two column approach. Show what the employer wants and what you offer. You could add a third column, to show the evidence.

Make sure it all matches what you have in your CV.

Don’t finish by saying that you hope to hear from them. Hope doesn’t come into it. You are a good candidate and you know they will want to meet you, so tell them you are looking forward to meeting them and discussing how you could add value to their business.