How to write a good covering letter

A covering letter is an essential part of how jobseekers market themselves as this is usually the employer’s first encounter with the potential employee.

The gateway to your CV is in your covering letter. The purpose of the covering letter is to introduce the jobseeker to the potential employer or recruiter and the content should be structured and concise.

Unlike a CV, a covering letter should always be a customised document, which includes an introduction to the candidate, a motivation as to why the candidate is applying for the job and a description of the jobseeker’s qualifications. Ensure that a business-like approach is maintained, while striving to sell yourself by highlighting some of your most relevant achievements.

We suggest you take note of the following basic covering letter guidelines:

  • always address the relevant contact in the position advertised;
  • when responding to a specific advertisement, include any relevant reference numbers, the date it was posted and the job title;
  • the covering letter should briefly outline the jobseeker’s current position and illustrate the reason for the desired change;
  • jobseekers should provide the potential employer with worthy reasons to set up an interview
  • use the cover letter to immediately show why you are a match to the vacancy
  • when emailing your CV you could copy the cover letter into the body of the email to encourage the person to open your CV attachment
  • View the covering letter as a summarized brochure to your CV, so market yourself well
  • A cover letter should never be longer than one page
  • Ensure you contact details are available on your cover letter

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