Use your covering letter to identify the most relevant skills or experiences specific to the job, rather than restating the information in your CV.
Kevin Fitzgerald, North American Marketing Communications Manager, Michael Page International, one of the world's leading professional recruitment consultancies, shares his advice on what to include in your curriculum vitae.
What to Include in Your Curriculum Vitae Covering Letter
- The content of your cover letter should be brief and structured, avoid lengthy repetition of information covered in your CV. (Unlike a CV, it is acceptable to write a covering letter in the first person.) In particular:
- Your letter should address the relevant contact, whose name often appears in the job advert. Avoid Sir or Madam if possible.
- If you are replying to an advert, say so. Mention job title, any reference number and where and when you saw it.
- In some cases an advert will indicate a more substantial letter is required. Always follow a specific instruction and include any information if it is particularly requested, for example, current salary.
- Briefly outline your current situation and why you are seeking change. Include current or last job, qualifications and professional and academic training, tailoring your information to make it as relevant as possible to the organisation or job applied for.
- Tell the potential employer a little about themselves to demonstrate you have properly read the advert and that you have done some research into the organisation. Also, state why you are interested in them as an employer.
- You need to succinctly emphasize why an 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 that your CV covering 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.
- Negative information of any sort should be avoided in your covering letter as well as CV.
- Close your letter with a polite expression of interest in further dialogue with the recruiter. Do mention that you would like the opportunity to discuss your suitability further at an interview and that you await a response in due course.
- Ensure your letter is neatly and clearly presented with no grammatical or spelling errors.
- Email covering letters should be written in a common font with standard formatting and should emulate a handwritten letter in terms of style.
Curriculum Vitae Tips
More tips and advice for writing a perfect curriculum vitae, plus CV tips for online job applications, CV formatting and styles, academic and international CVs, and tips for writing curriculum vitae that secure an interview.
Before you start work on your curriculum vitae, review free cv samples that fit a variety of employment situations. These curriculum vitae examples and templates provide job seekers with examples of cv formats that will work for almost every job seeker.