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Covering letters


What is a covering letter?

When you send out your CV you must always include a covering (or cover) letter (unless the employer specifies not to). It is usually a Word document or PDF that is set out like a formal letter.

 It is essential that you tailor every covering letter that you send out.


  • Make it professional, uncluttered, well-written and enthusiastic.
  • Show understanding of the job, the sector and the organisation and explain why you want to work for them. Keynote is a great tool for researching sectors.
  • Write about specifc skills and experiences that make you right for this role.
  • Instead of repeating everything from your CV, focus on the top few pieces of information that most strongly demonstrate your suitability for the role.
  • Ideally, write to a named contact rather than "Sir/madam".
  • In most cases you should email your covering letter as a Word document/PDF attachment to an email and include a brief explanation in the email text.

What next?

  1. Read the helpsheet on covering letters on Moodle
  2. Check our events page for covering letter workshops.
  3. Once you have completed a draft get your covering letter checked at the Careers & Employability Service.

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