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How to write a great cover letter for your CV

Treat your CV cover letter as a vital part of your personal marketing literature, which merits attention and consideration. A cover letter introduces you and your CV, and is your first chance to make a good impression. Aim to make it entice the reader to take those few extra minutes to consider you against other applicants.

An interview winning cover letter can differentiate your CV. Make sure yours stands out.

Following nine key steps, you should…

  • research the organisation to learn about their business
  • design a professional, visually appealing attractive format
  • study the job profile / ad to gain insight into the role
  • draw on your CV for key points / expertise matching the role
  • include examples that demonstrate initiative, enthusiasm and quantified results
  • make clear what you have to offer that would benefit the company
  • include just sufficient information to encourage recruiters to want to learn more
  • stay away from platitudes (like hardworking, etc)
  • your cover letter should not exceed 1 page

SAMPLE COVER LETTER – STRUCTURE

Your contact information

The heading of the letter should include your full postal and email address, and phone number(s)

Employer or Agency contact information

Name and job title of recipient (if known)
Company name and full address

Date your letter

Salutation

Dear Mr or Mrs (ideally address your letter to a named person)
Dear Sir or Madam (only if you cannot find out the recipient’s name)

Subject

If applying for an advertised position, insert job title and reference.

First paragraph

The first paragraph of your cover letter should express your interest in the position, and indicate why the role is particularly attractive to you. Briefly outline your current situation and why you are seeking change, tailoring your information to make it as relevant as possible to the organisation or job applied for.

Second paragraph

Introduce your CV and briefly summarise your strengths – qualifications and / or experience in or knowledge of the company’s market sector. This demonstrates you have properly read the advert and have done some research into the organisation. Tell them why you are interested in them as an employer.

Third paragraph

This paragraph should draw attention to the most relevant aspects of your career – making strong connections between your skills that dovetail with their requirements. Succinctly emphasise why the employer may want to meet and employ you. Highlight your transferable skills, achievements and versatility; what you can contribute; and what makes you different. Mention personality traits relevant to the role applied for, taking care not to appear too subjective. Ensure the letter flows freely however, and does not slavishly match every point on the job description. The reader should be left with an overall impression that you are a potentially valuable addition to the workforce.

Fourth paragraph

This could briefly refer to experience and achievements in your earlier career, but only if relevant to the job description

Final paragraph

Express confidence in your ability to contribute to the success of the company, and indicate that you look forward to taking your application a step further at interview.

Complimentary close

Yours sincerely (if you know the recipient’s name)
Yours faithfully (if you do not know the recipient’s name)

Permanent link to this article: http://www.nationalapp.co.za/personalised-cv-design/how-to-write-a-great-cover-letter-for-your-cv/