Careers and Employability Centre

Covering letters

Your covering letter should complement your CV and demonstrate how you are a good match for the opportunity

Read our CVs and covering letters booklet 

Our CVs and covering letters [PDF 117.42KB] booklet offers guidance on what information to include in your covering letter.

Standard covering letters

Each covering letter you write should be tailored to the role and organisation you are applying to. It should be presented as a formal letter and be no longer than one page.

Your letter should have four main paragraphs:

  • paragraph 1: introduce yourself - say why you are writing and give some background about whether you are a student or a graduate 
  • paragraph 2: why you are interested in the organisation - demonstrate that you have done some research on their website and know what they do, giving an example of an aspect of their work that particularly impresses you eg. a project, product, service or work policy
  • paragraph 3: how you meet their requirements - use the job advert to structure your bullet points and show how you fulfil them. Start your bullet point with a positive word and then the skill before giving an example to demonstrate it
  • paragraph 4: what you want to happen next - reaffirm your enthusiasm for the role and organisation, and say when you are available for interview

Speculative covering letters

You can send a speculative covering letter to an organisation that isn't currently advertising any vacancies. Like a standard covering letter, your letter should be persuasive and outline why you are interested in the organisation and what you can offer them. 

Tips for writing covering letters

  • Address your letter to a named person or use Dear Sir/Madam or Dear Recruiter, if you don't have a name. 
  • Close your letter with Yours sincerely if you are writing to a named person or Yours faithfully if you are writing to Dear Sir/Madam.
Book onto a CV and covering letter workshop

Get your covering letter reviewed

You can get guidance on writing a covering letter and 1-2-1 feedback at our CV workshop. Book onto a workshop above.

We also offer feedback via Ask a Question and you can book a 1-2-1 appointment via CareerHub.

Other resources