To give your job application the best possible chance of success you need to know how to write a relevant and concise cover letter. Take a look at our examples for inspiration
What is a cover letter?
A cover letter is a document sent alongside your CV when applying for jobs. It acts as a personal introduction and helps to sell your application. A cover letter is necessary as it gives you the chance to explain to an employer why you're the best candidate for the job. You do this by highlighting relevant skills and experience; therefore you should always write your cover letter with the position you're applying for in mind.
Cover letters should complement your CV but not duplicate it. The general consensus among recruiters when it comes to the length of these documents is the shorter the better. Typically three to five short paragraphs, cover letters should not exceed one A4 page. If sending electronically, put the text in the body of the email rather than as an attachment, to avoid it being detected by spam filters.
Applications should always include a cover letter unless the job advert instructs you differently.
How to write a cover letter
Keep your cover letter brief, while making sure it emphasises your suitability for the job. It can be broken down into the following sections:
- First paragraph - The opening statement should set out why you're writing the letter. Begin by stating the position you're applying for, where you saw it advertised and when you are available to start.
- Second paragraph - Cover why you’re suitable for the job, what attracted you to this type of work, why you're interested in working for the company and what you can offer the organisation.
- Third paragraph - Highlight relevant experience and demonstrate how your skills match the specific requirements of the job description. Summarise any additional strengths and explain how these could benefit the company.
- Last paragraph - Use the closing paragraph to round up your letter. Reiterate your interest in the role and indicate your desire for a personal interview. Now is the time to mention any unavailable dates. Finish by thanking the employer and say how you are looking forward to receiving a response.
How to address a cover letter
Always try and address your cover letter directly to the person who will be reading it. Bear in mind that you're more likely to receive a reply if you send it to the right person.
Advertised positions usually include a contact name, but if not, it is worth taking the time to find out who the letter should be addressed to. You can do this by searching the company’s website for details of the hiring manager or alternatively you could call the organisation to ask who you should address your letter to. Don't be afraid to do this, many employers will appreciate you taking the time and initiative to do so.
If you're struggling to find a named contact you can use a general salutation such as:
- Dear Sir/Madam
- Dear Hiring manager
- Dear Human resources director.
However, general greetings should only be used once you have exhausted methods of finding a named contact. How you sign off your cover letter depends on how you addressed it. If you include a named contact sign off 'yours sincerely'. If you use a general one finish with 'yours faithfully'.
Example cover letters
6 tips for the perfect cover letter
With employers often receiving lots of applications for each vacancy, you need to ensure that your cover letter makes a lasting impression for the right reasons. Here are some tips to increase your chances of success:
- Be concise - Ideally a cover letter should take up half a page of A4 or one full page if necessary. Read through the document and cut out any unnecessary words and sentences. Don't fill up available space by repeating what's already covered in your CV.
- Tailor to the organisation - You should rewrite your cover letter every time you apply for a position in order to target the individual company. Sending out a generic letter for all applications rarely yields positive results and recruiters can spot your lack of time and effort from a mile away.
- Proofread - Never rely on a computer spellcheck program to pick up every mistake. Print off your cover letter and double-check for spelling and grammar errors before passing it to family member or friend to look over. Also make sure that your own contact details and the company name are correct.
- Format - Presentation is important so you'll need to format your cover letter properly. Make sure the document is as uncluttered as possible, use the same font and size as you use in your CV and if you're sending it through the post or handing it in use good quality plain white paper to print it on.
- Identify your USPs - They're your unique selling points. Be positive about what you have to offer and clearly outline how your skills and experience meet those requested in the job description. Demonstrate why you’re the perfect candidate.
- Include examples - Back up the claims in your cover letter with real evidence or examples that show how and when you've used your skills and experience.
Find out more
If you're a student or recent graduate you can make an appointment with your university's careers and employability service to access further help when writing your cover letter. You'll be able to talk with specially-trained advisers, get advice on what to include and have a professional eye look over your application before sending.
Written by Jemma Smith, Editor
Prospects · April 2017
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Schengen Visa Application Cover Letter – Samples for Tourist, Medical and Business Visa ApplicationsA Schengen Visa Cover Letter is the letter, which the visa applicant writes for the embassy where the visa application documents will be submitted.
A Schengen visa cover letter contains:
- The purpose of your travel to the Schengen member state or states
- Proof of how you will fund your trip (own funds or sponsor)
- If you have a sponsor – explain your personal relationship with your sponsor and the reason why they will be sponsoring your trip
- An overview of your itinerary, which also explains why you chose to apply at the specific Embassy
- If you cannot submit any of the required documents, write about the reasons why you cannot submit and explain alternative documents that you may have submitted
- Your intent to return to your home country – you can also write a separate letter of intent to explain your rootedness to your home country
It is important to write a cover letter as a way of communication with the embassy officer that will/is going to process your visa application.
Especially, now that a lot of the Embassies use the VFS services to collect documents and deliver the applicant’s passport, you have no chances given to speak to the visa officers and explain your details. As the visa officers make their decisions based on the documents you provide, it is highly recommended to write a cover letter that would do the explaining for you.
Therefore, write a compelling cover letter even though it is not to be found on the list of required documents!
Make sure your cover letter is written according to your travel purpose, such as: Business, Health, Visit, etc.
Cover Letter Sample for a Tourist Visa Application
Find a personal template or sample of a tourist visa cover letter with details below:
April 03, 2017
EMBASSY OF THE FEDERAL REPUBLIC OF GERMANY
No. 6/50G Shanti Path,
Chanakyapuri, New Delhi 110021
Subject: Anjali XXXXXXX, Indian Passport No: XXXXXX, Schengen Visa for Visit Friend/Famliy
I would like to apply for a Schengen visa upon my intention to travel to Germany from June 2 to June 28, 2017.
The main purpose of my travel is to visit my German friends. However, I look very forward to also visit the magnificent sights throughout Germany, as well as experience the famous German food and learn the German culture and way of life. During my stay, me and my friends wish to spend a holiday in the Netherlands and France to celebrate my upcoming graduation.
I am employed at <name of employer> in <address of employer> since April 2014, currently holding the position of Marketing Executive. My employer has already approved my vacation from work for the duration of this trip.
Please, find the following documents to support my visa application:
- Visa application form, duly dated and signed with attached passport-size pictures
- Passport, showing my travel experience
- Travel Insurance, coverage of €30,000
- E-ticket reservation for my flight via LH for New Delhi – Frankfurt – New Delhi [June 2-June 28, 2017]
- Hotel reservations for our holidays in the Netherlands and France
- Employment and leave certificates showing approved leaves as well as the date I am expected to return to work
- ITR, Payslips, and Savings Account as proof of my income
Also, the additional documents required for Medical Purposes Schengen Visa Application:
- Enclosed copies of medical records about your condition
- Bank statements and health insurance coverage to cover for medical expenses in [name of country]
- June 2, 2017 – Flight from New Delhi to Frankfurt via LH-761
- June 7, 2017 – Sightseeing in Germany
- June 10, 2014 – Travel from Frankfurt to Amsterdam Schiphol; Arrive in Amsterdam and stay at Clemens Hotel
- June 11, 2017 – Sightseeing in the Netherlands
- June 14, 2017 – Travel from Amsterdam Schiphol to Paris Gard du Nord and stay at Ibis Hotel – Sacré Coeur
- June 15, 2017 – Sacré Coeur, Opera, Tour Eiffel, Musee du Lourve
- June 17, 2017 – Chateau de Versailles
- June 20, 2017 – Travel from Paris Gard du Nord to Frankfurt via Air France
- June 28, 2017 – Flight back to New Delhi from Frankfurt via Lufthansa
I trust that you will find everything is in order. For any questions or clarifications, please do not hesitate to contact me anytime.
Thanking you in advance for a favorable reply to my application.
<Your Complete Name>
<Your Address>, India
Cover Letter Sample for Medical Visa Application
Please use the following guidelines when you submit a cover letter for medical purposes to the Embassy:
- The diagnosis must be specific
- The recommended treatment must be named and described in detail by a licensed health care provider
- Your provider must state a specific length of treatment. Lifetime or indefinite lengths of treatment will not be approved
Find a personal template or sample of a Schengen visa cover letter with details below:
Name of Referring Hospital
Address and Phone
I am writing on behalf of my patient, (patient name here), to document the medical need of (medication/treatment/equipment in question) for the treatment of (the exact diagnosis). Please, find in this letter the information regarding the patient’s medical diagnosis and history and a summary of my treatment motive.
Patient’s Diagnosis and History:
(Here include the information regarding the patient’s condition and diagnosis as well as the patient’s relatable history)
(Include information on the treatment and the course of care up to this point, and why the medication/treatment/equipment in question) is required and how you expect it will benefit your patient.)
(Length of time the medication/treatment/equipment in question is necessary – possibly not exceeding 12 months)
In summary, the (medication/treatment/equipment in question) is medically necessary for this patient’s medical condition and/or improvement.
Please, do not hesitate to contact me should any additional information be required to ensure the approval of the (medication/treatment/equipment in question).
(Name and signature of physician)
Your licensed provider must complete, date and sign the letter.
Read also: Business Schengen Visa Cover Letter Sample