Whilst a CV is a concise list of your skills and achievements, your cover letter introduces yourself, your CV and the role you’re applying for. It gives you the chance to explain your experience and how this relates to the role and would ultimately benefit the organisation. Most importantly, a cover letter allows you to outline your motivation for applying - why you want the job, why you want to work for the employer, and why you are keen to work in that industry. You can also highlight any key achievements you want to draw their attention to.
A cover letter may also be required when completing a masters or funding application. You should follow the same principle, but instead demonstrate how your skills match what the education provider is looking for. For further advice, see the tips and resources below.
Your cover letter should include:
- A clear introduction – explain who you are (e.g. a recent QMUL graduate), what position you are applying for, and how you heard about the role.
- You need to be clear what the employer is looking for and demonstrate how your skills match the specific requirements of the job description. Explain why you are right for the job by choosing specific examples outlining the experience you have and why it is relevant.
- Give clear evidence of your motivation for the role and the organisation. Think about what attracts you to the company, and demonstrate that you understand what the job involves. Research the organisation and the sector – the company website, LinkedIn and Twitter are good places to start.
- Explain what particular aspects of the job are most attractive to you, and why. Always use specific examples to support your statements, and avoid being too vague. The recruiter wants to know why you are the right candidate for the role, so use this opportunity to show your enthusiasm.
- This is also an opportunity to outline and tackle potential problems on your CV (e.g. you changed your degree course). This means explaining the situation and selling it in the best possible light.
- Briefly state your availability for interview and end the letter politely.