Skills for London

The Event of the Year

Typing a cover letter on a laptop

Why should a cover letter accompany your CV or résumé?

A cover letter is something which is often absent when applying for a job, as most job seekers focus solely on their CV. However, those that do attach a cover letter can already be one step ahead of the competition.

What is a cover letter and why is it so important?

A cover letter is a one page letter which allows you to expand a little more on your CV and directly address how your skills, qualifications and prior work experience will benefit the company. Whereas a CV will often simply list this information, the covering letter allows the applicant a chance to explain why they are right for the role, and what they can bring to the company.

But why should a cover letter accompany a CV?

Your chances of getting an interview are increased

With so many applicants all applying for the same role, an employer is looking for a unique application which stands out above the rest. The perfect CV is only as good as its covering letter, and this is where you need to focus your attention once your CV has been completed.

With so many other candidates just as qualified as yourself, you may need something else to attract the attention of the hiring manager. A cover letter will not only help create a nice introduction to your CV, it will also address the HR manager in a more personable way.

The Curriculum Vitae is a very formal document, and that’s why we promote the cover letter as a more informal approach. By personally writing to the HR manager by name, you are already making yourself more memorable and approachable for an interview.

There may be an issue with your CV or something that you would like to expand upon. For example, you may have an employment gap that you’d like to explain in more detail on a cover letter. If you were out of work for a few months whilst looking after a family member who was ill, you could better explain this on a cover letter.

You can provide extra information

A cover letter will provide you with an opportunity to provide more information, or expand upon something within your CV. State why you feel you are the right person for the job, and which qualifications and skills you hold will benefit the role and the business. This is a strong way to start your application and make a great first impression even before the hiring manager has read your CV.

How to write a cover letter

A cover letter has to be brief and to the point, whilst remaining friendly and informative. If you decide to write a cover letter it will be the first thing the hiring manager reads, so it has to make a positive impact.

You should also read:

  1. Why you should never write a CV on your own
  2. 3 ways to catch a recruiter’s attention
  3. How to write a CV that makes a great first impression
  4. Why you should tailor your CV to each job 

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