Find out how to write a cover letter to accompany your CV.
Book a place at a CV and applications workshop where you will be guided through what to include.
What is a cover letter?
A cover letter is a document that you send to an employer alongside your CV. It is your chance to show an employer how you meet the criteria for the role you are applying for. Your cover letter 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.
What to include
Your cover letter should include four main paragraphs, which details:
- an introduction – who you are and why you are writing, with some background about whether you are a student or a graduate
- why you have applied for this job and 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
- 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
- what you want to happen next – reaffirm your enthusiasm for the role and organisation, and say when you are available for interview.
You should 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.
Download an example cover letter to help guide you.
If you are applying for an academic or non-academic role following a PhD, see our example of a cover letter.
Sending a speculative cover letter
If the industry you want to get into is highly competitive, roles may not be formally advertised. In this case, you may decide to send a cover letter and CV to the them in advance, this is called a speculative cover letter.
Like a standard cover letter, your letter should be persuasive and outline why you are interested in the organisation and what you can offer them.
Download a speculative covering letter.
Telling an employer about a disability
You may choose to tell the employer about your disability on your cover letter, or you may decide to tell them later in the application process e.g. at interview. See an example cover letter from Prospects.
We have partnered with EmployAbility to provide students with disabilities and long-term health conditions with individualised advice and support. The EmployAbility team will also advocate for you with an employer to ensure you receive the adjustments you need.
Further help and advice
If you need futher help and advice while writing your cover letter, Ask a Question in CareerHub.