The Covering Letter



A good covering letter is essential to your application

Some people read them, some people don't. But you can't afford not to send a covering letter
This is your big chance to make a first impression so take your time. Get your coach to read it when you’ve finished. Read it again yourself the day after writing it to make sure you are still pleased with it before sending it to the Company
Start with Dear *whoever* (insert name). Make sure you spell the persons name correctly! Addressing me as 'Dear Julia', never got any of my applicants off to a flying start. Nor did using 'Dear Sir'
Due to the digital age and the ease of hitting the send button, some organisations receive up to 1000 applications for any given job. On average, I used to receive 300
To say your initial submission gets speed read is sometimes optimistic. The black hole you were wondering about, that your applications seem to disappear into. It is most likely a keen delete finger from a bored and under-enthused CV sifter
Your covering letter will not get you the job in and of it's own accord. But it can get your CV read. Of course, you need a good CV to get an interview request, but getting your CV read puts you a big leap forward

What should you include in a good covering letter?

Paragraph one
Clearly state what you are applying for and where you heard about the opportunity
Paragraph (or section) two
The next paragraph (or section) should be all about you in relation to this particular role. What can you do for this company in direct relation to the tasks and skills asked for in their advert and/or job spec?
For example if the role calls for three years+ experience coaching children between the ages of five and eight with knowledge of business and marketing you might write the following;
I have fifteen years experience working with children, predominantly as a teacher for 5 – 8 year olds. During that time I have frequently been commended by my colleagues, superiors and pupils parents for my ability to encourage the best effort and behaviour from my charges.
I have recently undertaken a distance learning course with the Open University to complete my MBA. My dissertation was a business plan with specific focus on how strong marketing creates desire within the market and improves sales.
Having studied this opportunity and researched your Company I think there is a lot I could bring to this role and I would be delighted to come and discuss this with you in more detail.
The final paragraph
Finally you should wrap up your application;
I have enclosed a copy of my CV for your perusal. I look forward to hearing your thoughts.
Then finish with yours sincerely if it is a letter or kind regards for an email, your full name and telephone number(s)

Send more than just your covering letter

Sounds obvious, but I have received quite a few applications with no attachments. Make sure you attach your CV (more about CVs later)
When our spelling is perfect, it's invisible. But when it's flawed, it prompts strong negative associations
Marilyn vos Savant

For help writing the perfect covering letter or making the transition from where you are to where you want to be please contact one of our Consultant Coaches

NetworkingAuthor of 'Get That Interview' and 'Click Start Your Career Success', Julie is the Lead Career Coach at Churchill Brook. She works with clients to develop their personal branding, promote themselves via social media and to find their passion, both in the work they are doing and the work that they want to do. Her approach is that of part coach, part mentor and part consultant. She is available to work with limited clients on a one-to-one basis OR via our executive CV and LinkedIn product options (check out ‘what we offer’).
Before joining Churchill Brook in 2009, she spent twelve years as an international headhunter, where she successfully helped her clients to recruit exceptional people. She is an expert at getting candidates noticed by companies and had one of the highest success ratios for CV submission to hire that we know of within the recruitment industry
Talk to her on Facebook,   Twitter and LinkedIn
Another article you might enjoy on job applications
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© 2011 Churchill Brook International
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