How to write a winning cover letter: 7 tips for making an impact

I have had clients ask: “what exactly is a cover letter?” “What’s the point in them?” “What do I write in a cover letter?” Cover letters are a welcome accompaniment to a CV. They can colour your application and provide recruiters with additional information about your skills, experiences and overall suitability for a role.

Cover letters are sent with a CV so you can describe why you are the best candidate for the job and why the company should consider you for the role. It is your chance to show off and demonstrate to the company that you are the best.  Cover letters may feel like a waste of time, but they can be a crucial way of setting yourself apart.  Cover letters often land in a recruiter’s inbox but what should they contain? Here are some tips for you to make sure your cover letter really turns some heads.


1.    Keep it short and sweet.

Any shorter than A4 and it may look like you haven’t got anything to say, any longer you might seem like you are telling your life story. One side of A4 standard font size of 10-12 is an acceptable length. Find out the name of the recruiter or hiring manager. If you cannot find that information, Dear Sir or Madam should suffice. Starting formally is a great place to begin.

2.    An introduction can be a way to grab the audience.

This is the time to get the attention of others, to stand out, try and be formal, yet interesting.  Start with identifying which job you are applying for and then briefly mention your key skills qualifications and experiences that qualify you for the role.

3.    Research the company and your motivations in paragraph one.

In paragraph one talk about why you want to work for the organisation. Really research them, look at their website, their products, and services and explain how you can slot in to contribute to their success. Talk about what you are passionate about and why working for the organisation would develop you and help them.

4.    Go into more detail in paragraph two.

Talk about your past job or educational experiences, qualifications, and courses and link these to the job description.  Describe how these skills and experiences make you the perfect candidate for the role. Discuss specific incidences, not general sound bites. Try not to regurgitate your CV either; cover letters need to be complimentary, not repetitious.

5.    Include projects, articles or videos you have worked on in paragraph three.

In paragraph three include projects, articles or videos that are online. You can include hyperlinks to related websites and documents. By providing real examples of your work, your letter will come alive.

6.    Make your closing paragraph memorable.

Summarise how your skills and experiences make you the best candidate for the company. Then end with a salutation and your name.

7.    Proofread.

Nothing turns people off more than a spelling, grammatical error or both. Make sure you proofread and get other people to check for you. Be clear and concise in what you are saying. Avoid waffle and long elaborate sentences.

Following these simple steps will enable you to present yourself in a clear and structured way and increase your chances of landing an interview. If you need any help or assistance with your cover letter, please contact us at Great Minds for Business.