Writing the Perfect 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.
Learning How to Write a Cover Letter: 11 Top Tips
Learning how to write a cover letter is easier than it sounds. Here are our top tips for cover letter writing success:
1. Research the company
Do your research on your prospective employer to understand its history and ambitions. Company culture is a massive consideration for hiring managers, so it’s important to address this in your cover letter.
2. Use a cover letter template
Your letter's layout is one of the first things a recruiter will notice, and it's essential to know where to put information. Use a cover letter template to ensure that your cover letter follows a clear, logical structure and looks professional.
3. Work on the tone
Using the right tone shows that you understand the company's culture. As a general rule, keeping it formal is a good idea. Avoid any slang and lots of exclamation marks, but do allow your personality to shine through.
4. State your achievements
Choose one major achievement that demonstrates why you're the perfect candidate, and mention this in your letter. Recruiters are looking for qualified talent, and this is the perfect place in your job application to demonstrate this. Remember to include an impressive statistic to drive home the impact you made, and make sure that this achievement also appears in your CV.
5. Use keywords from the job description
Most employers use software to screen job applications, looking for candidates who use keywords that suggest they're a good fit. Scan the job description for keywords and phrases, then make sure to use them in both your cover letter and CV.
6. Use spell check
It's easy to avoid spelling mistakes. Check and double-check your letter, using spell check and even reading it out loud to find errors. A single spelling mistake could be the difference between being invited in for an interview, and your job application being discarded.
7. Address the letter correctly
A cover letter is a formal letter and should be addressed as such. Place the employer’s full address in the top right hand corner, find out the hiring manager's name, and use an appropriate salutation.
8. Include your contact details
Make it easy for hiring managers to contact you: include your contact details! At a minimum, you should provide your mobile number and a professional-sounding email address.
9. Edit your cover letter
Don’t be afraid to re-read your letter a few times and edit it. A long cover letter can show you care, but if they’re too long a recruiter won’t bother. Knowing how to write a cover letter is about being concise and never repeating yourself. It may take you a few rounds of editing before you get the letter right.
10. Relate your cover letter to your CV
It’s important that your cover letter clearly connects to your CV: these two documents should work in tandem to form your complete job application. Make sure they look the part by choosing matching cover letter and CV templates. Remember that your cover letter shouldn't replicate your CV: its job is to highlight key details that will make a recruiter want to read your CV.
11. Review your letter before you send it
Before you send your cover letter, proofread it one last time. Review it alongside your CV to make sure that they work well together. Then double-check it again. Once it's sent, you can't change it, so it's worth taking the time to make sure it's perfect.
3 Questions UK Candidates Ask About Cover Letter Writing
How do I write a cover letter for a job?
Write a cover letter for a job by:
- Writing formally: Appear professional and serious about working for the organisation by using a formal tone.
- Highlighting just 1-2 key achievementse: While you want to impress employers and with just how perfect you are for the position, it’s important not to overload them in the cover letter.
- Being smart with keywords: Using the same terms as the job description will help the recruiter to clearly recognise that you're a great fit.
- Telling the same story in your CV: Use the letter as a teaser, and expand on the letter in your accompanying CV. Check out our CV format and layout tips to help you understand how to write a perfect CV.
How do you write an effective cover letter?
Write an effective cover letter by:
- Addressing it properly: Treat a cover letter as you would any other normal letter. Ensure that the employer's address is at the top.
- Outlining key skills: This part of the cover letter needs to give a good overview of you without being too in depth. Mention key skills that make you a relevant fit for the role.
- Matching your experience to the role: Again, this shouldn’t be too long, but should give the recruiter insight into the kinds of jobs you’ve had in the past.
How can I make my cover letter stand out?
Write a cover letter that stands out by:
- Avoiding typos! Check and double-check your letter before sending it.
- Focusing on your strengths.
- Providing clear details about a past achievement.
- Keeping it formal, but not stuffy.
How A Cover Letter Differs From a CV
When learning how to write a cover letter, it’s important to remember that it's not the same as a CV. Instead, it works with your CV to form your overall job application.
Your cover letter is an introduction to you as a candidate, and makes a case for why you're the perfect for the role. It highlights key strengths and gives enough information to make the hiring manager want to know more. But if you're showcasing your work experience in detail, or providing multiple examples of achievements, you're writing a CV.
How can you write a cover letter that's related to your CV, but isn't too repetitive? Here are a few expert tips:
- Templates: Use the same cover letter and CV templates. This creates a visual link between the document. Check out our cover letter templates to see what we offer - each design also has a matching CV template.
- Tone: Ensure it's appropriate for both documents, which generally means being a little more formal. When it doubt, remember that these are professional documents.
- Key achievements: Make sure that the 'big win' you showcase in your cover letter is also included in your CV, and that the stats you reference are correct in both documents.
- Career path: Your entire job application should tell a consistent story about your career: where you've come from, and where you want to go. Pay particular attention to how your application letter and your CV's personal statement connect up.
Your Secret Weapon: A Professional Cover Letter Builder
Writing a cover letter can be really challenging. It needs to give enough of an introduction that the recruiter wants to know more, but not so much detail that they feel overwhelmed. And because it's often the first thing a recruiter will read when you apply for a position, it's critical that you put your best foot forward.
So how can you write the perfect cover letter? Many successful candidates start with cover letter samples, which give them insight into what their peers are writing. But their secret weapon is using a cover letter builder.
Our professional cover letter builder provides you with everything you need to really stand out from the crowd: lots of different templates to choose from to give you a great design and structure, and pre-written text examples that you can insert and customise. And it walks you through the process step by step, with lots of helpful tips and advice available so you never feel like you're going it all alone.
Best of all, it's been used by millions of people worldwide to build their cover letters, so you can feel confident that the letter you build will really stand out for all the right reasons.
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, then write your own with help from our cover letter builder.
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, 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 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 position.
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 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 creative position 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 as 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 illustrating 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 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.
How to Make Your Cover Letter Appeal to Recruiters
On average, just 20% of UK applicants get an interview. f you want to get an interview, it's critical that you make your cover letter appeal to recruiters. And the best way to do that is to avoid all the simple mistakes that frustrate them.
1. Avoid spelling errors
2. Give enough information
3. Personalise the letter for each role
4. Highlight a compelling achievement
5. Address the letter appropriately
6. Create a connection between your CV and cover letter
7. Explain why you’re a good company fit
Build a Perfect Cover Letter
Knowing how to write a cover letter is crucial to your career success. Your cover letter is your one shot to impress the hiring manager and land a job interview.
Whether you're writing a cover letter for the first time, or you want to refine your approach, our cover letter builder makes it quick and easy. You’ll understand what tone to use, and how to write about your achievements and experience effectively.