A CV tells the person in an organisation receiving your application what skills and qualities you have to do a job – very important – but the first thing that person is likely to see is your Covering Letter.
The covering letter tells the person why you want the job and, particularly, why you want to work in their organisation. The following post is an excerpt from my 2009 book Winning Cover Letters for First-Time Job Hunters and includes a cover letter template at the end which you can use as a starting point.
How to prepare your Covering Letter
When producing your Cover Letter it is very helpful if you have researched crucial facts about the organisation before doing a targeted letter.
The covering letter should display your competence in written English (i.e. no spelling or grammatical errors), your ability to select facts that are important to a post or company, and understanding of the company and role you are applying for.
It should be organised as:
- Paragraph 1 What is the covering letter for – what are you looking for/wanting to do
- Paragraph 2 Why have you chosen this particular employer for example what attracts you to working for them
- Paragraph 3 What have you got to offer the company or organisation in terms of skills, abilities, aptitudes that are desirable.
- Last Paragraph Simple sentence saying you have enclosed CV for their attention and also how to contact you best.
Before doing the letter think about:
- What is your current situation?
- What are your career aims?
- Have you got the necessary skills, experience, knowledge or aptitude to learn it? Show this.
Highlight additional skills and experience especially those that can be transferred from one sector to another if you are changing career direction.
Answering queries the advert has thrown up.
It is very important to display passion.
Important things to remember writing a Cover Letter
Always find out the person who the CV and covering letter need to go to. Sending it to the personnel department won’t look that impressive and it is unlikely to get read. Ring up first to check who you should write it to.
Always put Yours sincerely where you have started the letter Dear Mr Jones etc.
You can write a CV and covering letter for many reasons. To gain part-time work, full-time work, answer an advertisement where they are asked for, to ask for work experience in an area you are thinking of going into as a career.
Never send a CV wherer the advert or person hiring has specifically told you to fill in an application form.
Example of a Covering Letter
73 Happy Road
11th February 2012
Mr N Bloggs
X Primary School
Dear Mr Bloggs
Re: Voluntary Support Assistant
I am presently looking for more experience as a classroom support assistant. I have been abroad teaching English as a foreign language for three years in China and have greatly enjoyed this. I have returned to the UK and would like to build on my skills gained there hopefully gaining employment as a teaching assistant locally.
I am aware to do this I need some current experience in a local school. I am looking for some voluntary work working with primary school children as I feel eventually I would like to qualify as a Primary School teacher. This I feel is very much a vocational for me that I am passionate about. Although I taught children of many different ages in China I felt that I could offer the most and felt most in tune with the younger children.
I am particularly interested in coming to your school as it is part of the community in which I live and I know that your school last year had an good Ofsted rating. I know that school timetables are very tight and any tasks however small that could free up teaching time or assist teachers in the classroom I would be happy to do.
Please find enclosed a copy of my CV for your attention that outlines what I have achieved previously. I have references from my teaching experience to hand. I would welcome a chance to come into the school for a meeting to see what I can offer and what may be of value to the school.
Enc x 2
Have you got any tips or experience of Changing Careers?
Have you changed career recently? And if so was there anything that helped you which I haven’t included above?
If there is get in touch and let me know – I’m always looking for new ways to help people get the career they want!