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Cover letter structure

Cover letter structure

A good cover letter requires a clear, planned structure in order to present yourself as a strong candidate to a potential employer. Finding a job is not a simple as carrying out the job search and writing a couple of sentences on the email alongside your CV. You must take time to make sure you touch upon all the key sections that are necessary for the perfect cover letter.

Basic structure of a cover letter

The cover letter needs 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 make the job interview stage!

The cover letter is your opening correspondence to an employer. 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 cover letter.

Opening of the 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

After opening your cover letter, continue by telling the potential employer your name, age and current occupation. It is a way of introducing yourself fully in the first sentence of your cover letter and letting the interviewer know what type of candidate he/she is dealing with.

Reasons for wanting the job

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. Read more about the importance of researching the company to which you’re applying to on our cover letter advice page.

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 be good but are not greatly relevant.

Synopsis of your academic career

Support your work experience information with any academic highlights from your education career. Doing this gives 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. For example, if you are applying to a financial position, then an A-level in Mathematics will sounds much better than discussing a good Music A-level grade.

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.

Language skills

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 increasingly powerful.

A personal touch

Your potential employer would like to see some personal information to gauge what kind of person you are. Remember that it is often the case that employers only want to take on people that they think would be enjoyable to teach; no matter how many qualifications you have!

Add a personal sentence towards the end talking about what you do in your free time. Write something that’s light-hearted, shows a sense of humour, and let’s an employer know that you would be a pleasure to have on board their organisation.

Logistical details

The logistical details are the dates when you are available for the job interview or when you can start the job. It is important to include this to let the employer know of your availability.

Ending of the 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 to attach the CV

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!

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