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How to write a covering letter

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Always send a covering letter with your CV, even if you deliver it by hand.

A covering letter isn’t an optional extra. Its job is to catch the employer’s attention so they actually read your CV. It has to be good and it has to tell them:

If you’re emailing your CV to an employer you can either send the covering letter as another attachment, or use the content of the letter to write a covering email. (See Example covering letter)

The introduction

Now you’re ready to start writing the main part of the letter.

Part 1

Say what you are applying for, for example “I wish to apply for the above post…” or “I would like to be considered for…” or “I am very interested in your recent advertisement for…”

Say where and when you saw the vacancy advertised.

Mention that you have enclosed, or have attached, a copy of your CV for their consideration.

Part 2

Tell them a little bit about yourself, and why you’re a good applicant for the job. For example, “I have recently completed my National 5 qualifications and am expected to achieve good grades in all of my subjects.” Or, “I completed a one-week placement as an office assistant at a local car hire company, which helped me to improve my telephone and customer care skills.” 

Mention your relevant skills and experience, but keep it short. Focus on the skills specified in the advert. Add to what you’ve said in your CV.

Say why the job and their company or organisation interests you. As well as saying what you can bring to the company, give a specific example, if possible, of how it would benefit you to work there. Make it clear that you are really keen!

Part 3

Thank them for considering your application, and say that you look forward to hearing from them.

The ending

Yours sincerely (if you know the name of the person who will be reading the letter)


Yours faithfully (if the letter is addressed “Dear Sir/Madam”)

Add your signature.

Type your name below your signature.


Cover Letter Creator

If you already have a Planit Portfolio account, don’t forget to use the Cover Letter Creator online tool! This will help you create, set out and save your letters in your Planit Portfolio.

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