Curriculum Vitae Cover Letters
When you apply for a job with a curriculum vitae, it's important to include a cover letter, also known as a covering letter, with your CV. This letter allows you to make a favorable first impression, using narrative in your own tone of voice to catch the reader’s attention and encourage them to give a serious review to your attached resume.
Curriculum Vitae Cover Letters
A cover letter should be included with every curriculum vitae you send, and should also be tailored to respond to the unique and specific requirements requested by each organization you are approaching; don’t try to use the same cover letter for every job you apply for.
This letter needs to provide detailed information on why are you are qualified for the job. It should also outline the reasons for your interest in the company or organization to which you are applying.
Use your cover letter to identify the most relevant skills or experiences specific to the job, rather than restating the information in your CV. If you're writing a cover letter for a position at a college or university, here's how to write an academic cover letter.
What to Include in Your Curriculum Vitae Cover Letter
Kevin Fitzgerald is the North American Marketing Communications Manager for Michael Page International, one of the world's leading professional recruitment consultancies. He provides the following suggestions about what information to incorporate into your curriculum vitae cover letter.
- The content of your cover letter should be brief and structured; avoid lengthy repetition of information covered in your CV. Unlike a CV, it is acceptable to write a cover letter in the first person.
- Your letter should address the relevant contact, whose name often appears in the job advertisement. Avoid “Sir” or “Madam” if possible.
- If you are replying to a job ad, say so. Mention the job title, any reference number, and where and when you saw it.
- In some cases an advert will indicate that a more substantial letter is required. Always follow specific instructions and include any information if it is particularly requested (for example, your current salary).
- Briefly outline your current situation and why you are seeking change. Include mention of your current or last job, qualifications, and professional and academic training, tailoring your information to make it as relevant as possible to the organization or job applied for.
- Tell the potential employer a little about themselves to demonstrate you have properly read the position description and that you have done some research into the organization. Also, state why you are interested in them as an employer.
- You need to succinctly emphasize why an employer may want to meet and employ you. Highlight your transferable skills, achievements and versatility: what you can contribute and what makes you stand out from your competition. You can also mention personality traits relevant to the role applied for, taking care not to appear too subjective.
- Ensure that your CV covering letter flows freely, however, and does not slavishly match every point on the job description. The reader should be left with an overall impression that you are a potentially valuable addition to the workforce.
- Negative information of any sort should be avoided in your cover letter as well as on your CV.
- Close your letter with a polite expression of interest in further dialogue with the recruiter. Do mention that you would like the opportunity to discuss your suitability further in a personal interview and that you await a response in due course.
- Ensure your letter is neatly and clearly presented with no grammatical or spelling errors.
- Email covering letters should be written in a common font (such as Times New Roman, Verdana, or Courier New) with standard formatting and should emulate a handwritten letter in terms of style.
Cover Letter Samples
Depending on the employer's submission requirements, curriculum vitae cover letters can either be submitted online with your CV, uploaded online, or mailed. Be sure to follow the application instructions and follow the directions on how to apply.
Related Articles: Cover Letters Samples for Curriculum Vitae | Types of Cover Letters (with samples of each) | Email Cover Letter Examples
by Amber Rolfe
Behind every CV is a good cover letter…
A cover letter is an essential part of almost every job application. Not only do you have to make sure it sells your skills and abilities to recruiters, you also need to do it a clear and concise manner – that ultimately persuades the reader to want to meet you.
We’ve already covered what a cover letter is, but here’s our step-by-step guide to help you get started on writing one:
Do your research
First things first, you need to do your research.
Take some time to look into the role you’re applying for and the company – and use this information to tailor your cover letter accordingly.
Here are a few key things you should find out before you start writing:
- What does the company do?
- Who are their competitors?
- Who are their target audience?
- What does the role involve?
- What are the essential skills?
Once you’ve found answers to these questions, you’ll be able to make it clear in your cover letter how your skills and abilities match up with what the employer is looking for.
Not only will doing research give you the knowledge you need to tailor your cover letter and CV to the style of the company, it also demonstrates that you’ve got a real interest in the specific role and company.
Cover letter help
How to format a cover letter
Your cover letter should be well-presented, concise, and to-the-point.
So use an easy-to-read font, and don’t get carried away with embellishments. No pictures, no Comic Sans, and definitely no word art necessary.
Aside from ensuring its written using clear paragraphs – it also should be the right length. Too long, and you’ll risk rambling (and/or boring the recruiter); but too short, and you’re unlikely to have covered everything.
Aim for half a side of A4 (or one page maximum), and you’ll be on the right track.
Five things you need to stop doing on your cover letter
How to address a cover letter
Cover letters should be addressed to the person dealing with the applications.
Usually, this will be shown somewhere in the job advert – and if not, don’t be afraid to find out. Start by visiting the company’s website to track down the name of a relevant recipient, and if you have no luck there – there’s no harm in simply calling and asking.
Not only will you be able to address your letter accurately, you’ll also demonstrate your initiative and genuine interest in the role.
If you manage to find a name – address with ‘Dear Mr Smith/Dear Ms Jones’.
And if you don’t? ‘Dear Sir/Madam’ will suffice.
How to structure a cover letter
Although there are no set rules on how your cover letter should be structured, making sure it flows well is vital if you want to impress recruiters.
Here’s a rough guideline of how your cover letter should look:
Opening the letter – Why are you getting in touch?
The opening paragraph should be short and to the point, explaining why you’re getting in touch. It’s also useful to include where you found the ad i.e. as advertised on reed.co.uk. If someone referred you, mention their name in this section.
Example: I wish to apply for the role of IT Manager, currently being advertised on reed.co.uk. Please find enclosed my CV for your consideration.
Second paragraph – Why are you suitable for the job?
Briefly describe your professional and academic qualifications that are relevant to the role and ensure you refer to each of the skills listed in the job description.
Example:As you can see from my attached CV, I have over three years’ experience in the IT Industry, and I believe the knowledge and skills built up during this time make me the perfect candidate for the role.
Third paragraph – What can you do for the company?
Now’s your opportunity to emphasise what you can do for the company. Outline your career goals (making it relevant to the position you’re applying for) and expand on pertinent points in your CV – including examples to back up your skills.
Example: In my current role as Senior Marketing Executive at Software Company X Ltd, I have been responsible for increasing incoming client enquiries for our B2B product lines by 156% in under 12 months, which helped the business increase its revenue by 55% year-on-year.
Fourth paragraph – Reiterate
Here’s where you reiterate your interest in the role and why you would be the right fit for the role. It’s also a good time to indicate you’d like to meet with the employer for an interview.
I am confident that I can bring this level of success with me to your company and help IT Company LTD build upon their reputation as one the UK’s fastest-growing software houses. With my previous experience and expertise, I believe I can start actively contributing to the business as soon as possible.
Thank you for your time and consideration. I look forward to meeting with you to discuss my application further.
Closing the letter
Sign off your cover letter with ‘Yours sincerely’ (if you know the name of the hiring manager), or ‘Yours faithfully’ (if you don’t), followed by your name.
How to: Overcome common cover letter problems
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