Writing the Perfect Cover Letter, Made Easy
Are you wondering how to write a cover letter? Maybe you’ve started writing but just can’t find the words, or are struggling with the structure?
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 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 what the company does, how big it is, and its history. This will help you understand what type of person they’re looking for. Company culture and employee fit is a massive consideration for recruiters, so it’s important to know how to write a cover letter that addresses this.
This will also help you if you get through to the interview stage, as often companies will question what you know about the company. Even if they don’t, it’s great to drop in subtle bits of knowledge to show you know your stuff.
2. Use a cover letter template
Knowing where to put information is essential, as the layout will be one of the first things a recruiter will notice. Use a cover letter template to ensure that you follow the right information structure, and prove to the employer that you’re a professional who knows how to write a cover letter.
3. Work on the tone
Understanding what tone to use is crucial to knowing how to write a cover letter. Because company fit is important, ensure your tone fits with the company.
As a general rule, keeping it formal is a good idea. Avoid any slang and lots of exclamation marks as this can give the wrong impression. At the same time, allow your personality to shine through a little.
4. State your achievements
Stating why you’re great can be tricky, but mentioning achievements is an essential part of knowing how to write a cover letter. You don’t want to appear too pushy, however it is crucial that you tell the employer why you are right for the role.
For example, if the job description stated that you need a dynamic sales lead, adding something like “last year alone, I beat my annual sales goal by x which brought y in total revenue to the company” will help you stand out.
Why do your past achievements match the role? Over half of recruiters say that lack of qualified talent is their biggest obstacle, so show them what you know without detailing your career history. Link the cover letter to the achievements on your CV - take a look at our tips on CV personal profiles to guide you.
5. Use keywords from the job ad
Lots of selection processes are now computer led, and therefore based on keywords that match the job ad. If you want to pass the first stage, you need to know how to write a cover letter that is tailored to the job advertised.
Not only this, but if the recruiter can see how you fit the role, they’re much more likely to take you forward. Make it easy for them by using words and phrases from the description - if the descriptions asks for a creative who has design skills, talk about a time when you’re used those skills to drive a project forward.
6. Use spell check
Knowing how to write a cover letter may not be easy, but avoiding spelling errors is. Avoid them at all costs: it could be the difference between being taken to the next stage and being rejected.
It’s such an easy mistake to make - especially if you’re rushing through applications. But make sure you put your cover letter through a spell check and read the letter out loud to check for errors before sending it off.
7. Address the letter
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. It’s also beneficial to find out who the letter is going to and addressing it to them. This shows you care about the application, and adds a personal touch.
8. Sign the letter
A key part of knowing how to write a cover letter is signing it off. Nowadays, most cover letters are sent via email, so this doesn’t apply. However, you should still sign off the letter digitally with your full name.
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. Check through your work
Check your letter as many times as possible before sending it off. It’s always useful to read it aloud before you send it. When we read our own work back it can be really difficult to identify errors because we get so used to how the words are written, but saying it out loud avoids that trap.
You could also read your cover letter backwards line by line to ensure that you are paying attention to detail.
11. 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. In your cover letter, don’t try to replicate your CV. Instead, allude to areas in your CV that you’re proud of.
Your cover letter should make the recruiter interested in reading your CV. Make sure that when they do, they’ll be impressed - use a CV template to guide you and take a look at our tips on how to write a CV.
3 Questions UK Jobseekers Ask About Cover Letter Writing
How do I write a cover letter for a job?
Write a cover letter for a job by:
- Highlighting achievements: Whilst you want to impress the employer and relay everything that makes you perfect for the role, it’s important not to overload them in the cover letter.
- Spending some time researching the best methods to communicate: Whilst a Jobvite survey concluded that 55% of recruiters don’t read cover letters fully, that means that 45% still do and will check to see that the jobseeker has included one.
- Link it to your CV: take a look at our CV format and layout tips to help you understand how to write a CV that accompanies your cover letter perfectly.
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 employers address is at the top. This also proves to the recruiter that you’re not just copying a template, but have given this time and thought.
- 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?
You only get a short amount of time to impress the employer, and first impressions count. Here’s how to write a cover letter to stand out:
- Avoid typos: Check your letter 3-4 times before sending it.
- Focus on your strengths..
- Give details about past achievements.
- Keep it formal, because it’s a formal document.
How A Cover Letter Differs From a CV
When learning how to write a cover letter, it’s important to remember that the cover letter and the CV need to work in conjunction with each other. The cover letter provides the initial introduction and explains why you’re a good fit for the role. It needs to entice the recruiter into reading your CV and give a short overview rather than listing everything you’ve done.
If you know how to write a cover letter, you know that you don’t need to go into your whole CV. But it should give the reader insight into why you want the job and why they should consider you for the role.
The CV, on the other hand, should showcase your career in detail. You don’t need to go into exhaustive detail for every single job you’ve had, but the recruiter should be able to see a pattern or career path that leads you to the role they’re hiring for. The CV should also hint at the kind of person you are: sporty, arty, or philanthropic, for example.
The two documents need to interact and present an overall application. To make the link seamless, it’s important that the two documents share a similar tone. You don’t want the CV to be really professional and the cover letter to be informal, or vice versa.
Here’s how you can use My Perfect CV to write a cover letter related to your CV:
- Templates: use the same cover letter and CV templates. The cover letter should give an introduction to the CV and the design and style should match up to create an overall look.
- Tone: keep it formal, but allow your personality to shine through. Ensure you keep the same tone for each documents so that the recruiter can get a feel for who you are.
- Key achievements: they need to add up. There’s no use tailoring your key achievements to the role in the cover letter if they don’t feature in your CV. Check they link up.
- Career path: does your cover letter introduce the direction you’re going in? Does your CV compliment this and add to the story? Make sure they connect to form a strong application.
Benefits of Using a Cover Letter Builder
Knowing how to write a cover letter can be really challenging. It’s important to focus on how to write a cover letter for jobs, as this is the first impression an employer gets of you. A cover letter needs to introduce your application as well as entice the reader to view your CV. So what’s the solution to writing the perfect cover letter?
One way to learn how to write a cover letter is by referring to cover letter examples. This can be exceptionally helpful when writing your own cover letter. Using tips and advice from real cover letter examples make it easy to understand how to write.
It’s crucial that your cover letter stands out and gets you noticed by a recruiter. Looking at cover letter templates and examples from similar industries helps you see what is expected, then customise your own cover letter.
Still struggling for inspiration and need help with how to write a cover letter? Try our cover letter builder. It gives you the structure that you need to learn how to write the perfect cover letter and guide you on style and tone of voice. You can even use our pre-written text examples to get started.
See How Other UK Jobseekers Write Their Cover Letters
Looking at leading cover letter examples will help you write your own cover letter. MP has leading cover letter examples to help you write your own cover letter. They can be useful for looking at tone, style and structure, as well as how to present yourself professionally.
How to write a cover letter for the UK
Using a cover letter template for a UK cover letter can be helpful for understanding the tone and level of formality, structure, and how to present yourself. The use of reverse chronological order to present career history is also important and is common practice for a UK cover letter.
The cover letter will be attractive to recruiters because the format is easy to read and understand and gives a good first impression. Use this UK cover letter template to learn how to write a cover letter that highlights your key achievements without going into too much detail.
How to write a good cover letter
Use this cover letter template to understand the tone and level of formality to use and learn how to write a cover letter. Notice how the structure is laid out to present the information concisely and clearly. Look at how the template uses a formal tone in order to present the candidate in a professional manner.
It’s also useful to look at the use of reverse chronological order to present career history and the way it details experience without showing off. Use this cover letter UK template to stand out to recruiters and write a good cover letter that highlights your key achievements and helps you create a good impression.
How to write a cover letter for retail
Look at how the cover letter for retail lays the information out in a clear and concise manner and use this to learn how to write a cover letter. Use the template to understand how to present yourself in a formal and professional way.
Look at how the cover letter is tailored to the role. See how it details the career path in retail, and explains why the candidate is perfect for the role. Use the tone as a guide and look at how they write the cover letter in order to create a good first impression.
How to write a speculative cover letter
Sometimes if you don’t know if the role you want is available, which can make a cover letter more difficult to write. Look at how the example uses a formal style and professional tone to introduce the candidate and use this to understand how to write a cover letter. The way the template is structured is useful to take note of, as well as the way it lists achievements.
The template is concise and to the point, but also gives the recruiter a taste of the person’s personality. Look at how it gives enough information to keep the recruiter interested, but also leaves them wanting more.
How to write a great cover letter
Use this cover letter example to guide you with how to write a cover letter. Look at how the template uses a formal style and professional tone to introduce the candidate. The structure of the template is useful to take note of. Look at how the career history is presented to give a flavour without giving a full career history.
Notice how the template is concise and to the point, but also gives the recruiter a taste of the person’s personality. The cover letter is tailored to the job and allows the recruiter to navigate to the candidate’s CV.
How to write a cover letter for an internship
Use this cover letter template to apply for internship opportunity. Note how the template uses a formal tone in order to present the candidate in a professional manner. Look at how it details more about the personality and drive of the candidate than experience.
In this case, experience may be less relevant. Use the template for an idea of structure and tone, as well as how to appear professional when you might not have lots of experience yet.
How to write a general cover letter
Use this template to guide you with how to write a cover letter. Writing a good general cover letter is really helpful, as once you have one you can tailor it to each job. Use this cover letter template to start writing your own generic cover letter. Note how the template details the career history and achievements.
Look at how it uses a formal tone in order to present the candidate in a professional manner and has a concise structure. The tone is formal, yet gives a good insight into the person. Use this cover letter to write something similar. Introduce yourself and why you’re perfect for the role without giving too much away.
How to write a graduate cover letter
Writing a graduate cover letter can be challenging as you may not have loads of experience yet. If that’s the case, use this template structure to write about what you have done. Look at how it focuses on things learnt at university and details key achievements without bragging. Use the template for an idea of how to write a cover letter.
The cover letter example has a professional tone, concise structure and strong overarching message. Look at how it details the candidate’s interests and passions. Use it to create your own graduate cover letter.
How to write a legal cover letter
Use this cover letter template to apply to your ideal legal role. Look at how it details the personality and drive of the candidate in order to prove that they’re suited to the role. Use this legal cover letter example to write a well-structured cover letter that highlights your key achievements without going into too much detail.
Look at how the cover letter leads on well to the CV and leaves the recruiter wanting more. See how it details experience to appeal to a recruiter, then write your own legal cover letter.
How to write a successful cover letter
Use this successful cover letter example to learn how to use a formal style and professional tone. Take inspiration and learn how to write a cover letter. Look at the way the template is structured in order to list key achievements without detailing too much. It leaves the recruiter wanting more and leads on to the CV nicely.
Look at how this successful cover letter template uses a professional style to tailor the application to the role. Take note of how it makes a good impression without overloading the recruiter with information. Use it to write your own clear and concise cover letter.
How to write a professional cover letter
Are you trying to write a professional cover letter? Look at how the template uses a formal style and professional tone to introduce the candidate. The way it is structured should be taken note of. Look at how it introduces the candidate and gives an overview of their suitability for the role, with just enough information to intrigue the reader.
Notice how this cover letter would accompany a CV perfectly, and alludes to the next steps of the process. Use it to get an idea of how to write a cover letter.
How to write a law cover letter
Use this law cover letter template to apply to your dream legal role. Look at how the cover letter lists achievements. Take a look at how it’s tailored to the role. Notice how it shows what the candidate is motivated by. Look at how it details the personality and drive of the candidate without sounding pushy.
Use this law cover letter example to write a well-structured cover letter that maintains a formal and professional tone. Try to use the layout to stand out to a recruiter. Think about what makes it appealing to a recruiter, and use this information to understand how to write a law cover letter.
How to write a short cover letter
Cover letters don’t always need to be long, and sometimes job ads tell you to keep it short and sweet. You don’t want to overload the recruiter with information. Look at how this short cover letter example details the candidate’s achievements without going overboard.
Use the template to learn how to write a cover letter and display your suitability for the role. Look at how it lists achievements and tells a story that leads the recruiter to the CV. Use this cover letter example to master how to write a cover letter.
How to write a cover letter for teaching
Look at how this cover letter for teaching details experience briefly, without giving too much detail. Look at how they mention what drives them and how they illustrate why they are suited to the role. Look at how to write a cover letter by using a formal tone and professional style in order to make a good impression.
Look at how it details the personality and interests of the candidate without boring the recruiter. The achievements are listed briefly, and any the cover letter introduces the candidate well. Use this teaching cover letter example to understand how to write a cover letter.
How to write a creative cover letter
Use this creative cover letter template structure to understand how to write a cover letter for creative roles. This can be tricky, as a lot of creative work is hands on and can be hard to relay on paper. Look at how the template focuses on things learnt in the past and details key achievements.
Use the template for an idea of how to tailor your cover letter to the position and stand out. Look at the way the template uses a professional tone and concise structure to get to the point. Use this creative cover letter template to write the perfect creative cover letter.
How to write a business cover letter
Writing a cover letter for business needs to include an introduction to you as a person and your fit for the role. Use this business cover letter template to understand how to structure a cover letter. Take a look at the tone and style, and learn how to write a cover letter.
Look at the way the cover letter details achievements and qualifications without giving a full career history. Use this example to understand how to write a cover letter that gives just enough information and leaves the recruiter eager to read your CV.
How to write a perfect cover letter
Use the template to understand how to write a cover letter with the perfect tone to suit the role. Look at how the letter presents the candidate in a professional manner, whilst showing their personality off too. Note how it details key achievements that are tailored to the role, but doesn’t go into too much detail.
The cover letter will attract recruiters due to the easy-to-read format and concise style. Take notice of how it builds a good first impression and tempts the reader to look at their CV. Use this cover letter example grasp how to write a cover letter that is perfectly customised to the role.
How to write a fashion cover letter
Writing a fashion cover letter can be a challenge, so take a look at this example to help you learn how to write a cover letter. Use the template as a guide on how to lay the information out. It should be clear and concise so as not to confuse the recruiter. Never repeat yourself, and try to add relevant achievements to the role.
Look at how the example positions the candidate as passionate and perfect for the role by briefly mentioning prior experience. Use the fashion cover letter to understand how to give enough information away to get the reader to open your CV, but not so much that you overwhelm them.
How to write a cover letter for a bar job
Use this cover letter template to understand how to write a bar job cover letter. Look at how the template is structured. Look at what order they mention things in, and how the writer uses a formal tone but still allows their personality to come across.
See how achievements and skills are shared in a way that is clear, but not arrogant. Use this template to learn how to write a cover letter that tells the reader why you’re perfect for the role without going into too much detail.
How to write a winning cover letter
Use this template to write a winning cover letter template. Notice how the cover letter uses a structure that makes the writing clear and concise. There is no repetition or detailed examples of achievements and qualifications as that is left to the CV.
Look at how the template uses a formal tone, addresses the recruiter correctly and doesn’t go into excessive detail. Instead, it focuses on highlighting key strengths and examining why the candidate is right for the role. Use this cover letter template to understand how to write a cover letter of your own.
Common Cover Letter Writing Questions From UK Job Applicants
How do I write a cover letter for a job?
Write an effective cover letter by:
- Writing formally: Ensure that the employers address is at the top of the letter and use a formal tone. It’s crucial to appear professional and serious about the role.
- Talking about achievements: It’s important to give a good overview of your skills. Mention important skills that make you a relevant fit for the role.
- Linking to the job description: try to link your cover letter to the job description to make it really easy for the recruiter to see why you are the right fit for the role.
How do you write an effective cover letter?
An effective cover letter needs to get straight to the point, link to the job description and make you stand out as a candidate. Here’s how to write an effective cover letter:
- Keep it formal: be sure to keep a formal and professional tone throughout
- State your key achievements: put your best foot forward and suggest ways that you are suited to the role.
- Link to your CV: make sure you keep the style similar throughout the two documents and link to the same information.
How to Make Your Cover Letter Appeal to Recruiters
Studies have shown that on average only 20% of applicants get an interview, so it’s tough competition. Recruiters are the people who receive your cover letter and CV, so it’s important to give them what they need. Knowing how to write a cover letter is about ensuring the recruiter can find the information they’re looking for.
So how do you avoid the easy mistakes that put recruiters off? Remember, recruiters actually want you to be the ideal candidate, so as long as you write your cover letter with the recruiter in mind, you’ll hit the nail on the head.
1. Avoid spelling errors
2. Give enough information
3. Be job specific
4. Highlight compelling achievements
5. Address the letter
6. Link your cover letter to your CV
7. Avoid making things up
8. Explain why you’re a good company fit
Build a Job-Winning Cover Letter
Knowing how to write a cover letter is crucial to your career success. You only get one shot to impress the hiring manager. If you want to land an interview, you need to have a cover letter that excites the recruiter and persuades them to read your CV.
While knowing how to write a cover letter can be a challenge, using 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.
Don’t leave your application to chance! Our tried and tested cover letter builder is a stress-free solution that really works. It’s the quickest, easiest way to build a perfect cover letter.