Why do we Write Cover Letters?

Updated: Aug 6

The cover letter is often a point of contention, whether you need one or not is usually dependant on the specific application you are going for. Writing a cover letter can increase your application 'punching power' and it's something you probably want to make use of! If you're looking for free cover letter templates, we have a bunch of them here.

A cover letter is a way to show your conviction and suitability for a role (other than your CV)

However, in some applications you will notice that you aren't always asked to write one. There may be an 'option' to submit one, but many skip the opportunity.

I would always recommend the consideration of writing one because they can offer a fantastic service of bolstering your overall application.

The CV does the job of demonstrating your skillset and qualifications, but the cover letter can help demonstrate your interest and conviction.

As an employer, they want to know the reason why you are applying, because it's a direct indicator to how you would perform in the role.

The cover letter is used for exactly that purpose.

Why Write a Cover Letter

This is an interesting question, it's one of those things that was very popular in the past and it's kind of 'stuck around' in the modern day application process.

Back in the days before the internet and email, CV's were sent through the mail, or just dropped off at the prospective workplace.

Now, imagine this, if you are the employer (HR departments didn't really exist back then) and you receive a letter with a CV in it.

All you have is the skillset and qualification of someone, but other than that, you know nothing!

So, the applicant would also write a letter to the employer explaining their motivations and why they think they are suitable for the company. They would also explain their knowledge on the company and just demonstrate overall awareness of what the organisation does.

This is where the term cover letter comes from, the 'cover' relates to the fact that the cover letter would be placed on top of your CV and would introduce the CV.

Things have moved on, now HR are here, they get information from you over application portals or emails/phone/question sections/forms etc.

Some people say cover letters are redundant, others keep them because it's a nice 'touch' to your application.

Modern day CV's actually encourage a portion of the page to be dedicated to an introduction of yourself, some people use this part as a mini cover letter. For some applications, this would be a good idea, but if you want to get a larger message across, write a separate letter.

Free Cover Letter Examples

One thing is very important, you want to tailor your cover letter and CV to every job application you do. It's typically a bad idea to copy and paste your documents across many applications. You want to be specific about each.

If you are interested in writing one here's a few pointers.

Things to do in a Cover Letter

  • One page long.

  • Short, usually 3 paragraphs or so.

  • Contains your Name, Address, Contact details.

  • Contains the address of the hiring company.

  • The opener line will describe that you are applying for 'name of role' and 'reference number of role'.

  • Answers these questions.

  • Why are you applying for the opportunity?

  • What makes you suitable for the opportunity?

  • What is your interest in the wider field?

  • Any specific things you have done so far to complement your application.

For some free cover letter template downloads, check out our resources page and just click to download to a word document!

Things not to do in a Cover Letter

  • Don't make it too long, longer than one page.

  • Don't be negative, keep things ambitious and positive!

  • Avoid making grammar or spelling mistakes.

  • Avoid talking yourself out of the opportunity, stay relevant.

  • Avoid overly decorative template designs, simple is best.

  • Avoid complicated font's, simplicity is best here too.

  • Avoid repeating things in your CV, maybe expand on examples from the CV but try not to repeat them.

Overall, this should be a nice easy thing to do (once you know what you want to write)

How to Write a Cover Letter

Writing a cover letter can be done in a few different ways, sometimes, people write a separate letter to their CV (which is what I recommended) and others write a small paragraph within their CV.

The right cover letter template for you will depend upon your situation, generally speaking, you want to have it separate from your CV.

If the opportunity you are applying to offers the option to submit one, I would recommend you try to put something together because it's a great way to demonstrate your conviction and interest in the role.

Cover Letter Must Haves

  • Your Name, Line of Address, Town, Postcode

  • To Sir or Madam (or whatever appropriate name/title)

  • Date of writing the letter

  • Name of the job role you are applying for and the associated reference code (if applicable)

  • First paragraph - you should convey your interest here, say why you are suitable for the role and what inspires you about the opportunity

  • Second paragraph - Justify why the role appeals to you, give examples of what makes you suitable for this (you may have alluded to this in your CV, this is your chance to go into more depth!) Give examples of your previous work, get them interested in it!.

  • Third paragraph - Tail off the letter nicely, give thanks to the employer for offering the opportunity. Be sure to write the whole letter in a good positive energy from start to finish, convince them that you'll do great in the role

  • If you want to add more, you can, or use more paragraphs. But be sure to make it concise and meaningful.

The cover letter is your chance to 'talk' to the employer, this by itself is a very unique opportunity for any applicant. If you have something to say to them, I invite you to write your cover letters and get that message across!

Overall, my opinion on the cover letter is that they are a tool to be used rather than be ignored. I like to put myself in the shoes of the employer and think what I would want.

Personally, I'd like to know more about the person I'm possibly going to hire. You could argue that you will meet that person at the interview stage and gain everything from a cover letter there. However, to get to that stage you need to select a group of applicants in the first place.

If you are applying for a new opportunity and the option for a cover letter appears, write one! Be introspective and dig deep to why you want this opportunity, you can really make the hiring personnel resonate and feel something when written correctly.

Free Resource Templates

If you're applying to university/work or struggling to study, you may benefit from some of the below freebies:

  • CV's/Resumé Templates

  • Personal Statement Templates

  • Cover Letter Templates

  • Study Schedules/Planner Templates

  • More!

Head over to the FREE Resources page and you can download (to word) any of the templates shown there, new ones are released every so often, tailor them to what you need them for and good luck!

They will show you the structure and formatting of each document, along with suggested design ideas and possible wording techniques, take a look!

Best of luck with your applications!

Thanks for reading


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