The cover letter is an essential step in the job application process. It is first recommended to be familiar with the general cover letter advice that we offer in our dedicated section. Here you can learn how to write a cover letter for a general job offer. However, when applying to a particular country, it is necessary to understand the specific requirements for the different elements of the job application. Below are some tips about how to structure your cover letter for UK employers.
Basic structure of a British cover letter
UK cover letter’s require a clear structure that helps you to stand out as a proficient candidate to the employer. If the employer is able to see that you can express yourself competently and professionally, then, as long as you have some adequate work experience on your CV, you should be able to at least make the interview stage!
The cover letter is your opening correspondence to an employer. In the UK, if the cover letter is poor, candidates are often discarded before an employer has opened the CV. Therefore you need to convey everything you want about yourself in a clear, concise way. Below is a step by step guide of all the sections you should include on your UK cover letter.
Opening of the UK cover letter
The opening of a cover letter is much more important than you might think. This is a section that, without fail, a potential employer will read. Introduce yourself too colloquially and you may be dismissed within seconds.
Begin with ‘Dear Sir/Madam’ if unsure of the recipient’s identity. Alternatively, you could use the name of the organisation. If you know the identity of then open your cover letter with their surname, preceded by ‘Mr or Ms’.
Name, age, and occupation
Start with these three essentials of name, age, and occupation. It is a way of introducing yourself fully in the first sentence of your cover letter. Through this, you immediately let the interviewer know who you are.
Reasons for wanting the job in the UK
Explain in 2 or 3 sentences why you would like the job being offered by the employer. In this section you can demonstrate your in-depth knowledge of the employers organisation, and express why you are perfectly suited to the job position.
Brief synopsis of your work experience
Explain that you think you deserve the job position because of your experience in X, Y & Z! Remember that everything on the cover letter should be tailored to whatever skill-set is required for the job position in question. Therefore, highlight particular skills learnt from your work experience that are suited to the specific job, rather than skills that might sound good but are not wholly relevant.
Brief synopsis of your academic career
Back up the information about your work experience with any academic highlights you have had throughout your education career. Doing this gives more of a founding to your intelligence and a credibility to your application. Again, it will help if you can talk about any specific academic skills or subjects that are directly relevant to the job role to which you are applying. For example, if you are applying to a financial position, then an A-level in Mathematics will sounds much better than discussing a high grade at Music A-level.
Also, regarding your academic and professional career, explain to the employer in your cover letter, that if he wishes to read more detailed information then your CV is attached below.
List any language skills in one sentence and explain how these would benefit you in the company to which you are applying. Language skills are highly regarded in organisations today where multi-national companies are growing, and the working barriers between countries are dissolving.
Your potential employer would like to see some personal information to gauge what kind of person you are. Employers only want to take on people that they like and think would be enjoyable to teach. Even if you are the most qualified person in the world, if you aren’t nice then you won’t get a job.
Add a personal sentence towards the end talking about what you do in your free time. This shows a friendly personality and let’s an employer know that you would be a pleasure to have on board their organisation.
Logistics means the dates when you are available for a job interview and any necessary documentation that you need to live and work in the UK. Read our section dedicated to visa information to learn about the documentation you may need to work legally in Britain.
Ending your UK cover letter
To end your cover letter, it is recommended to write ‘yours sincerely’ or ‘kind regards’. These are both formal and friendly. End one of these statements with a comma and below write your full name. Always be polite, no matter who the employer is. Remember, you do not know anything about the recipient and so it is better to be too formal, than informal.
Don’t forget the CV attachment!
You may have taken the time and effort to write a marvellous cover letter, only to forget to attach your CV. It’s basic, but easy to forget – Attach your CV! Learn more about tailoring your CV to the UK job market in our dedicated section.
Back to the UK cover letter