What is a cover letter?A cover letter accompanies your CV when you make a job application. The letter is designed to act as a short introduction to you and your expertise and should encourage an employer to consider your CV. It should be professional, yet grab the attention of the recruiter who is likely to receive many applications for the same position. It is important to note that your cover letter should not simply be a copy of your CV in a longhand format. You should write a new cover letter for each job you apply for, tailored to the company and their advertised vacancy. Unless otherwise stated in the job description, remember to include a cover letter in every job application you make.
How to structure your cover letterYour cover letter should be formatted in a professional manner and should fit onto one page of A4. The key to writing an effective cover letter is to be concise. Include your own address, usually in the top right-hand corner and use the contact’s full name. We recommend that you set out your cover letter using this template and include the following in each paragraph:
IntroductionYour opening statement should include why you’re writing. Start by stating which role you are applying for and where you saw it advertised.
Showcase skills and experienceYour second paragraph should be a strong personal statement which highlights your most impressive experience or skills. Use the job description as a guide as you write this and make sure you explain how these skills would make you an asset to the company. You want to give the impression that you are the right person for the job from the very start.
Demonstrate your interest in the industryShow your enthusiasm for the company and what they do. Make sure you’ve done your research and can demonstrate a genuine interest in the industry. Perhaps the company is currently working on a project that you’re particularly excited about. Let them know, and remember to tell them how you will be able to help them achieve their goals. Recruiters will be on the lookout for candidates who are likely to stay with the company for a longer period. Make sure you appear interested for the long-term.
Sign offMake sure that your closing statement is positive and confident. Use this to reiterate how interested you are in the role and how you look forward to discussing it further with them. Sign your letter off with ‘yours sincerely’ and your full name.
How many words should a cover letter be?As a general rule, a cover letter shouldn’t be longer than one side of A4. For a correctly formatted letter including an address, you should have around 300-350 words to play with. Make sure you use a clear font and make sure that it is around 12pt.
How to address a cover letter without contact detailsIf there is no contact name on the job description, you have a couple of options. You can do a bit of extra research and see if the hiring manager is listed on the company website. You could even give the company a call if they’ve provided a contact number. If you can’t find a name after your extra research there are a couple of general greetings that you can use:
- Dear Hiring Manager
- Dear Sir/Madam
- To Whom It May Concern
Our top ten tips for the perfect cover letter for the aviation industry:
- Double check the details: Make sure you have addressed your letter to the right person, you’ve used the correct job title and there are no spelling mistakes.
- Quality over quantity: A short and well-crafted cover letter will be much more powerful than many pages of rambling detail. One side of A4 is the right sort of length.
- Professional format: Unless otherwise stated, recruiters will usually expect a professionally formatted cover letter.
- Don’t just copy your CV: You have limited space across your CV and cover letter to stand out to employers. Make sure you don’t waste any of it by repeating yourself.
- Give evidence: If you claim that you have a particular skill, demonstrate how you have successfully implemented it.
- Write tailored cover letters: Don’t send out the same cover letter for different jobs. For it to stand out, you’ll need some detail in there specific to the company and the particular role they are offering.
- What can you offer: Make sure that your cover letter is written in a way that highlights what you can offer the company, not what they can offer you.
- Don’t mention salary expectations: Unless you’re specifically asked to in the job description, don’t include your salary expectations in your cover letter.
- Positive sign off: Make sure that you end on a confident note and indicate that you would like to discuss the role with them further.
- Proofread: Double-check everything and then get someone else to proofread it for you.
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