How to Write a Good Cover Letter


What is the point of a cover letter?  You may ask yourself this during your job search when you are writing your tenth letter of the evening!  A cover letter is an opportunity to make your application stand out from the crowd and to present any relevant application details that may not be present in your CV. It shows a potential employer that you have actually put some thought into why you want their position and why you want to work for their company.  It shows them that you are not afraid of going a little further and working a little harder for the opportunity on offer. An employer is looking for someone who follows instructions therefore, if a cover letter is specifically requested as part of your application, make sure to provide one. 

In brief, the cover letter should be an overview of why you are applying, your previous experience and why you believe you would be a great candidate for the opportunity.

A well written cover letter can open doors for you and get your CV in front of the right person.  With an inbox full of applications, a recruiter will spend approximately 7 seconds reviewing each CV… Yes 7 seconds!, so you need to make sure you make a big enough impact that the reader flags yours for further action.

First things first… remember this is a letter and should be presented as such. Whether in an email or a separate document it is important that it is set out correctly as any letter should be. See below :

Mrs. Zara Jackson

Network Scientific Ltd

Evans Business Centre

Hartwith Way

Harrogate

North Yorkshire

HG3 2XA

 

Tel: 01423 813520 / 07740 973425

 

Email: zara.jackson@networkscientific.co.uk

 

Date

 

RE: Job Title and Reference Number (if applicable)

Dear Hiring Manager,

If you know the name of the hiring manager ensure to address the letter to them directly. If the name is not known, for example if you are applying via a recruitment agency, it is wise to address the letter, Dear Sir/Madam or alternatively, Dear hiring/HR manager. In your opening paragraph you should include the job title of the role that you are applying for (see above). Note that if you are using your cover letter as a template for future applications then remember to change it and tailor to each specific role.  Recruiters receive numerous CVs and covering letters detailing the incorrect, and often unrelated, role which is a sure-fire way to get your application rejected.

The following paragraph should include the purpose of the letter.  Why are you writing to this person, and keep in mind that it should be clear and concise information. For example; “I am writing to you today to apply for the position of Laboratory Analyst with ABC Pharmaceuticals based in South Yorkshire.”

It is essential that you include details about why you believe you are a suitable candidate for the position. Include your associated skills and work experience that is relevant to the job you are applying for.  Don’t just restate your CV; focus on the most important factors that make you the most desirable candidate. For example; “I am currently employed as a Quality Control Analyst for XYZ Pharmaceuticals and I believe that I would be an excellent candidate for your current vacancy.  In my current role I am required to analyse raw materials and finished products by HPLC and GC within a GMP environment, these are skills which I can easily transfer to your company.  I am a highly motivated individual with a passion to prove myself to a growing business in the pharmaceutical industry.”

Next, you should include a new paragraph that contains specific information about your requirements including;, your location, notice period and availability for interview. For example; “I am currently living in Harrogate and am happy to relocate for the position on offer. I have a one month notice period and would require one week notice to interview.”

You should always sign off with what you have included in the attached document and thank the employer for their time and consideration.

Finally… spellcheck, spellcheck, spellcheck! We also recommend getting someone else, a friend or relative, to review your letter for grammar and spelling errors. Attention to detail is highly important in any role within the scientific sector so again, a badly written cover letter with spelling errors could get your application on the rejected pile.

Network Scientific Recruitment are a specialist recruitment agency, made up of industry experienced recruiters, working across the science, healthcare and engineering industries.  Our friendly team would be happy to assist with your CV and cover letter requirements. For more information contact Zara Jackson on 01423 813520 or email zara.jackson@networkscientific.co.uk.

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