How to Write a Cover Letter for a Job


Keep it no more than 1 page long.

Do different cover letters for different job roles and companies.

Use formal serious language, write in full sentences and use paragraphs.

Always include a header with contact details for you and the company.  This means:

  • First and Last Name
  • Street Address
  • City
  • Postcode
  • Phone Number
  • Email Address

Dear Mr/Mrs/Ms and Last Name.  The name is normally on the advert or you can phone the company/HR and ask for a contact name.  If you do not have a contact name, put Dear Sir/Madam.  If you use this salutation, remember to change the sign-off as Yours faithfully.

First Paragraph.  Write in sentences, but to the point, such as the following, filling in the blanks with the details relevant for the job you have applied for:

I am writing to apply for the role of _____________ I saw advertised in the __________ I have experience/interest/a background of_________that I feel would make me suitable for this role.  Why have you selected this position? I would like to be considered for this role because____________

Second Paragraph.  Why would this role be ideal for you?  Talk about your skills and qualities that you have that are also useful for the job.  Look at the person specification and job description.  If you do not have one, ask for one. Do you know what all these words mean and do you have real life examples on how they apply to you?  Think of a few examples and different situations.  Talk about any main accomplishments, like being a course representative at college.  Use words mentioned in the job advert or job description.  Mention only the most important information, like your qualifications and do not repeat your CV.  You just have to identify three or four skills or qualities that are relevant.  You are only writing a fairly short paragraph.  Stay focused and use work relevant examples.

A Skill is something you have learnt and developed like teamwork, IT skills, problem-solving skills, negotiating skills, enterprise skills, language skills , technical skills, numeracy and literacy skills, practical technical skills.

A Quality is something you are often born with, like aspects of your personality and nature: self-esteem, sociability,  adaptability, resilience, sense of humour persistence, attention to detail, motivation, determination, confidence, honesty, loyalty, cheerful, mature, pragmatic, commitment, passion, reliable, enthusiastic, hardworking, proactive, creative, patience, kind  curiosity, optimism, integrity, calm, articulate, imaginative, friendly, energetic, resourceful.  Learn to see parts of your personality as strengths, so, for example, if you are quite a good listener?  If you are talkative, are you friendly?  Are you easy to work with?  Sell your qualities, explaining this in your cover letter.  Also, if you are inexperienced with little work experience, are you keen to learn from others?

Identify possible sources for qualities and skills from your daily life. Everyone has skills and qualities, like, from volunteering, work experience, sports, social clubs, interests, college courses, travel, responsibilities, like from family, your disability, life skills opportunities, like driving, gardening, DIY, money management, first aid, cooking skills, cleaning skills, maintenance skills.

Paragraph 3.  Repeat your passion for the job and thank them for their time and consideration.  Direct them to look at your CV and tell them you look forward to hearing from them.

Sign off and be formal.  Use Yours sincerely if you know the person’s name and Yours faithfully if you do not, and sign the letter with your signature.

Some people do decide to declare a disability on their cover letter or CV.  If you do highlight what you have learnt, like the skills it has given you, for example, managing a personal budget or creative problem-solving, overcoming potential barriers and showing determination and resilience.