Writing a winning cover letter, made easy
Knowing how to write a cover letter is a skill that a lot of us don’t have, so don’t be intimidated if you don’t know where to start. We’re here to help you write a perfect cover letter: what to say, when to say it, and all without sounding pushy or fake.
With our help you’ll build a cover letter that won’t just make a great first impression on recruiters - it’ll also help you to get the job you want.
The typical structure of a UK cover letter
Before you start writing your cover letter, it's helpful to understand more about the structure of a standard UK cover letter. Here’s our quick guide to the sections to include on your cover letter:
First paragraph: What job are you applying for and where did you find it?
This is about context. Helping the recruiter immediately understand where you've come from and which job you’re are applying for.
Second paragraph: Give an overview of your relevant experience
Quickly sum up why you’re right for this job. Talk about your overall relevant experience and passion for the company or role specifically. For example, if you’re applying for an admin job with a publishing company you could say:
“I have over five years’ experience in administration within the publishing industry, meaning I have first-hand insight into the publishing process.”
Third paragraph: Pick your top specific achievement
It can be tempting to list every single achievement, but instead you need to choose one relevant achievement to highlight. Ask yourself: what have I done that would impress a recruiter? For example:
“In my current role, I’m responsible for a team of five and have increased productivity by 15% in just one year.”
Fourth paragraph: Reiterate why you'd be a great fit
Demonstrate your passion and come across as keen to be hired for the role at hand. But beware: being too enthusiastic can come across as insincere. Make sure you’re being genuine here.
Fifth paragraph: Express enthusiasm about an interview
It's professional to be up-front and express enthusiasm about your desire to proceed to an interview. Recruiters will appreciate that you're a serious candidate, not a time-waster.
There are various ways you can close a cover letter, depending on the formality level and whether or not you’ve addressed the person by name. If you addressed the letter to a specific person, sign off “yours sincerely”, and if you addressed generically like “dear sir or madam”, use “yours faithfully”.
Top tips for writing a top-notch cover letter
Take a look at example cover letters for some inspiration
We know it can be tough starting anything from scratch, so take a look at some of our cover letter examples to get inspired. From marketing to engineering cover letters, we’re sure to have one that fits the role you’re applying for.
Use a template appropriate for the role
Even if the content on your cover letter is perfect, a badly designed cover letter can do more harm than good. Use a cover letter template built for your role to not only make it quicker and easier to create, but to make sure your cover letter looks great, too.
Research the company you’re applying to work at
A company’s website and the job ad itself can give you great insight into how to write your cover letter. Take note of:
You can then mirror this style in your cover letter to make sure it’s appropriate and will resonate with the company you’re applying for a role with.
Include the right keywords
Including the right keywords in your cover letter makes it easy for employers to scan it for specific words and phrases related to the role they’re recruiting for. It also helps your application pass through Applicant Tracking System (ATS) filters—a function that automatically scans applications to find certain words.
To make sure your cover letter includes the right keywords, take a look at the job description. Then, use them, but use them sparingly. It might be tempting to repeat them as often as possible, but that will get picked up by a filter, so make sure it sounds natural.
Read it back and spell check it
Before you send off your application, make sure you carefully read back through your cover letter (and your CV), checking for spelling, grammar and punctuation. If you use our cover letter builder, there’s a handy spell-check button that will check these for you.
How successful UK candidates write cover letters
With over a decade's experience helping UK candidates to build well-written cover letters, we know what works. Check out our hand-picked selection of top cover letter examples and get inspired.
How to write a cover letter for the UK
A UK cover letter isn't identical to one in other countries. Our templates help you to choose an appropriate design and structure information to meet UK hiring managers' expectations. Focus on creating a short, well-written summary of why you're the perfect candidate, drawing attention to your strengths. Avoid sounding boastful by expressing genuine interest in the role and a job interview.
How to write a good cover letter
A good cover letter has a strong, clear structure that includes an appropriate salutation, and several short paragraphs that explain why you're the ideal candidate. You don't need to delve into the details of your work experience - instead, focus on a key achievement. In closing, reiterate your interest in the role and your desire to move to the interview stage.
How to write a cover letter for retail
Retail cover letters need to lay information out in a clear, concise manner. This template helps you to build a professional impression without being dull. Use positive language and focus on your strengths. Include a key achievement and back it up with numbers or statistics. Finally, check that your spelling and grammar are on point.
How to write a speculative cover letter
It can be tricky to write a cover letter if your dream role hasn't been advertised. A speculative cover letter showcases your strengths and skills, and makes a prospective employer eager to see what else your CV has to offer. Keep it short and professional, while still expressing your enthusiasm for the opportunity to work for the organisation.
How to write a great cover letter
A great cover letter is easy to write when you use one of our cover letter templates. They provide the structure and design, leaving you to focus on tone and content. Our cover letter builder can help you find just the right phrases that will excite recruiters and position you as the perfect candidate for the role.
How to write a cover letter for an internship
Internships are all about willingness to learn, so make sure this comes across in your application letter. Take a look at cover letter samples like this one to gauge how to position your qualifications, even if you don't have relevant work experience. Stand out when you apply by keeping your letter short and professional.
How to write a general cover letter
A general cover letter is really helpful as a starting point for any application. Start with a template, use a formal tone, and highlight your biggest achievement. As you apply for different roles, customise your general cover letter so that it neatly matches your CV for each individual opportunity.
How to write a graduate cover letter
Graduates don't always have lots of work experience, so hiring managers want you to demonstrate your enthusiasm and strong academic results. Don't be tempted to pad it out with lots of extra examples - show respect for employers and their time by keeping it short and focused.
How to write a legal cover letter
Legal cover letters need to be particularly concise and well-structured. A professional cover letter template will help you effectively communicate your relevant experience without wasting a single syllable. While your letter should be formal, don't forget to add a few personal touches that hint at your personality.
How to write a successful cover letter
A successful cover letter will help the reader see that you're the perfect candidate and make them eager to look at your CV in detail. A short document with a clean layout, powerful first paragraph, and an impactful statement about your achievements will go a long way towards securing you an interview.
How to write a professional cover letter
Professional cover letters can be the difference between applying and getting an interview and landing in the discard pile. Choose a simple, visually appealing template, use a formal tone, and keep your letter to a single A2 page. Make sure it works well with your CV as a complete job application, and don't forget to check its spelling and grammar.
How to write a law cover letter
Our law cover letter template will help you to apply for the role you want. It gives you an appropriate layout for your profession, as well as tips on the content you should include. Showcase key skills and achievements, but don't forget to inject some personality so that they know you're also a friendly team player.
How to write a short cover letter
Every cover letter should be short. Recruiters want a concise summary of what you have to offer, and don't appreciate being overloaded with too many details. If your letter's longer than 1 A4 page then go through and edit it, step by step, until it's the recommended length. Our cover letter templates will help you keep it brief.
How to write a cover letter for teaching
Stand out as the perfect candidate for a teaching role by using an appropriate cover letter template. Make sure you're up front about holding the required qualifications. Give a sense of what you have to offer by sharing your career ambitions and your involvement in extracurricular activities.
How to write a creative cover letter
It can be tricky to express creativity in a cover letter. Focus on the impact your creativity has had by sharing a key achievement that makes you stand out from the crowd. Don't get too creative with the template or the truth - keep the letter formal and factual. Inject some personality to help your future employer better understand who you are.
How to write a business cover letter
A cover letter for a business role should be equally businesslike. Keep it short and to the point but do add a little personal charm. While you don't want to sound pushy, don't be shy about explaining what a great fit you are for the role, and illustrate this with key skills and qualifications.
How to write a perfect cover letter
The perfect cover letter positions you as the ideal candidate and entices the hiring manager to read your CV. It's short - less than a full A4 page. It's also carefully personalised to show how you can help the organisation to succeed, and contains up-to-date contact information to make it easy to arrange a job interview.
How to write a fashion cover letter
Writing a fashion cover letter can be a challenge - you need to balance clarity and precision with a sense of personal style and flair. Choose a template that communicates a businesslike approach but also some finesse. Focus on relevant achievements, give a taste of the passion you feel for the industry, and avoid repeating yourself.
How to write a cover letter for a bar job
A cover letter for a bar job should be like a shot: short and impactful. Choose a template that shows you're professional without being stuffy. Highlight your ability to win customers over with charm while also ensuring that appropriate standards and regulations are met.
How to write a winning cover letter
A winning cover letter uses a strong structure and has clear, concise writing. There's no repetition and there aren't any long paragraphs that go into minute detail about work experience - that's left to the CV. A winning cover letter pays attention to detail, using a formal tone and addressing the hiring manager appropriately.