A covering letter is an essential ingredient of any job application. It’s your chance to show a company why they will want to hire you. Coupled with a succinct CV, a covering letter will be what gets you through the door and into that interview room. So how do you word a letter that will catch the eye of a prospective employer? 

An employer may not get to the end of your covering letter if the opening paragraph doesn’t grab their interest. You don’t need to do anything showy in the first sentence, just get to the point about who you are – perhaps referring to your current job or a significant qualification – and why you wish to work for the company.

You’ve told your prospective employer why you’re interested in them, now move on to why they should choose you over the other applicants. Check the job description and person specification for the key responsibilities and experience needed, and make sure you cover these. 

While it’s important to sell yourself, don’t overwrite or come across as arrogant – a covering letter should fit comfortably on one page, with just a few short paragraphs. 

Your concluding paragraph only needs to be a couple of lines long; simply thank them for their consideration and mention that you are looking forward to meeting with them. If you are writing a speculative application rather than responding to a job ad, you could suggest discussing the position further at a later date or say that you will follow up your letter with a phone call.