cover letter dos and don'ts

Do I always need to write a cover letter? How long should a cover letter be? What is the best format for one? These are just a few of the recurring questions regularly posed to our professional CV writers. The team has, over the years, tailored hundreds of CV covering letters. To give you the benefit of their experience, here’s a short, sharp blast on cover letter dos and don’ts:

Do include a job reference and details of the position you’re applying for.

Do take time to personalise to the role and company.

Do detail your motivations – explain why you have applied for this job, what appeals to you about the role and why you would love to work for this organisation.

Do make the effort to find the name of the hiring manager and always have a proper greeting.

Do check for typos and proper grammar; if possible get someone you trust to critique and proof.

Do have an enthusiastic tone throughout.

Do wrap up with a thank you; that you look forward to hearing from them and a proper sign off.

Don’t forget to change name and company details if you are customising an existing template!

Don’t overuse ‘I’, a cover letter must explain how you meet the employers needs, it’s not about you.

Don’t write essays, three to four paragraphs are sufficient.

Don’t regurgitate your CV; this is your chance to highlight relevant accomplishments.

Don’t depend on spellcheck! It’s not always accurate and doesn’t always catch everything!

Don’t lie, exaggerate, use clichés or resort to insincere flattery.

We hope these tips serve you well, a bit of time and attention to detail can go a long way. If you prefer to leave it to the experts and give yourself the best fighting chance of standing out from your competition, take a look at some of our clients’ success stories. City CV is led by award winning recruitment industry veteran Victoria McLean, who has been a hiring manager at two of the world’s leading investment banking groups. Her experienced team has expertise across multiple industries, as well as from graduate to CEO level, and are on top of the latest trends and developments in a highly competitive recruitment environment. To find out more about our Cover Letter writing, Interview Coaching or CV writing services, give City CV a call on +44 20 7100 6656 or email enquiries@citycv.com.

Image Source: Power_of_Words_by_Antonio_Litterio.jpg: Antonio Litterioderivative work: InverseHypercube (Power_of_Words_by_Antonio_Litterio.jpg) [CC-BY-SA-3.0], via Wikimedia Commons