A guide to writing cover letters


Creating a strong covering letter or personal statement is important when applying for many roles. Clients often ask for one of these in addition to your CV. These enable the client to get a better understanding of how well-suited you are for the position and why it is of interest to you. A well-written covering letter or personal statement makes you stand out as a candidate.

Everyone has their own style of writing and so the way you write your letter or statement is a personal choice. Whether you prefer storytelling, a structured bullet-point format, or the use of headings, the key is to choose a style that is clearly laid out, reasonably concise, and which feels right for you and effectively communicates your message.

Regardless of your chosen style, consider these steps:

Tailor it

Customise your letter or statement to address the role you are applying for by specifically addressing the criteria in the person specification.

Prioritise essential criteria

Focus on the most important, essential person specification criteria, and provide examples of your achievements.

Highlight outcomes and impact

Including data that demonstrate the scope and scale of your roles and achievements (for example, budgets or people you have managed) will strengthen your application.

Be concise

Sometimes the instructions on how to apply will include a word or page limit. Not exceeding this limit will strengthen your application. Where there is not a specified length for the letter or statement, limiting that to no more than two pages is recommended.

Pay attention to detail

Carefully check grammar and spelling.